Category Archives: Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt

How I Prep Chicken & Grilled Veggies

I am a big-time food prepper.  In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle it has to be easy and for me that means keeping healthy food in the fridge ready to go.  It’s easy to grab some carbs to round out a meal, so having some protein and veggies ready is key.

For years now I have been prepping mass quantities of chicken breasts every few weeks.  I’d rather do a WHOLE BUNCH every once in a while than every few days.  BBQ in bulk I say.

This is the method that works for me and I thought it might be of interest to you.  My Greek marinade recipe is so simple and not a perfect science in that it is a little bit different every time…I don’t do any precise measurements when I make it.  Growing-up my parents made a Greek Lemon Oregano Chicken and that is what this is based on.

With regards to counting macros, I know some people would count the lemon and the olive oil, but I take a somewhat laid-back approach to that and don’t include that in my daily macros because let’s be honest, most of the olive oil cooks off on the BBQ and just makes it so it doesn’t stick to the grill.  Now, if my chicken had a sauce poured over it after it had been prepared and was served to me that way, I would most definitely count that in my daily macros.

For the “cup” measurements I just use those that are written on the side of my Vitamix.  Today I doubled the recipe since I was making 15 chicken breasts as well as 2 bunches of grilled asparagus.

Balanced Grettie Greek Lemon Oregano Marinade Collage

Greek Lemon Oregano Marinade

  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup organic olive oil (I buy mine at Costco)
  • 1 head of garlic, break apart the cloves and peel them
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs whole pepper corns
  • 1/4 cup dried oregano

Method

Place all ingredients EXCEPT for the dried oregano into the Vitamix and blend until smooth.  Add the dried oregano and blend briefly so you preserve the leaves and don’t pulverize them (just personal preference).

CHICKEN & VEGGIE PREP

When it comes to prepping the chicken, the best trick I have discovered is to pound it.  By pounding the chicken and making it all the same thickness, you end-up with evenly cooked chicken and chicken that BBQs a heck of a lot faster!  It is super moist vs. having uneven dry spots like so often happens with THICK chicken breasts  (as long as you don;t overcook it!).

I allow the chicken to marinade for 4-8 hours…with this amount of lemon overnight would be TOO much (learned that the hard way)!  Make sure you reserve some of the marinade for your veggies.  This works awesome with asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc.

I like to place a flat black trash bag on my counter in order to avoid chicken juice flying everywhere (and it makes the clean-up a snap).  I also pound the chicken inside a produce bag from the grocery store for the same reason.  As for how the rest of the prep goes…I’ll tell it in pictures.

Balanced Grettie Chicken Prep pounded

Balanced Grettie Lemon oregano Greek Chicken prep pounding method Balanced Grettie Marinating Asparagus in a bag

Chicken Asparagus Prep 2

Once my chicken is BBQ’d and has cooled, I put about 4 breasts in the fridge and I vacuum pack bags of 4 and put them in the freezer.  When I am running out of prepped chicken in the fridge I pull out a bag from the freezer and defrost it in cold water (MUCH better result than defrosting in the microwave…I’m not a huge microwave fan).

Do any of you have food prep tricks you’d like to share?

 

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Filed under Gluten Free, IIFYM and Macros, Main Dish, Nutrition, Paleo, Quick, Quick Tips, Recipes, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt

QUICK & EASY BERRY JAM

My daughter has been chomping at the bit to make jam.  I’m not sure where she got the idea, but with all of the juicy berries we have been bringing home, now is definitely the time to preserve the berries while they are at the height of their flavor so we can pop into the jars when the bounty is no longer here.

My maternal grandmother was the queen of canning.  She grew-up on a farm in Minnesota with a gazillion brothers (she was the youngest and the only girl…even her twin was a boy!  Just based on that you know she lived in the kitchen).  I could go on and on about her canned peaches and have so many memories of all of the grandchildren being horrified when we discovered that there was only one can left in the pantry…they were THAT good.

Don’t even get me started on her huckelberry syrup…absolute heaven!

And her garden.  Oh her garden.  When it was dinnertime she would send my sister and I out to the garden to harvest the salad for the meal.

And her backyard.  It was HUGE and lined with fruit trees.  We would go out there and play for hours.  When we got hungry, we just reached-up and picked whatever we wanted to snack on.

Grandma Ruba made some amazing jam as well and I was always excited when she brought some on her visits.

Needless to say, I was definitely nostalgic while making jam with my daughter.  Perfect weather, cooking with my little one, and a tasty jam as the result of a wonderful day…another slice of heaven.

This jam my daughter and I created was definitely fresh vs. the cooked-down taste with a traditional jam.  I like both versions, but this version seems so appropriate for capturing the fruit in it’s prime.

We have one in the fridge and I froze the rest for later use.

INGREDIENTS
Inspired by 5 Dollar Dinners
 
3 lbs. berries (I used 2 lbs. strawberries, 1/2 lb. blueberries, 1/2 lb. raspberries)
1 box fruit pectin (I used Sure Jell)
2 tsp agar powder
1 12oz. container frozen organic apple juice concentrate (I used Cascadian Farms)
sweetener to taste (depends on ripeness of berries) with stevia, honey, or maple syrup.
.

Wash, de-stem,  and dry the berries.

Mash the berries with a potato masher.  If you are using some blueberries, make sure to pop open all of the blueberries.  The kids will have A LOT of fun helping you with this.  Make sure they have clean hands and then encourage them to get their hands into the action and squish the berries.

Bring the apple juice concentrate to a boil and add in the pectin and agar agar.  Whisk until dissolved and pour the boiling mixture over the crushed berries. Mix well.

Pour the jam into glass containers and cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate the cooled mixture to set.

The jam will stay well in the fridge for 3 weeks or freezer for 3 months.

I can’t wait to try this with the apricots we have been getting at the Farmer’s Market!

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Fruit, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipes, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Vegan, Vegetarian

CREAMY SMOKEY SPANISH DRESSING

I have been missing Spain lately and wanted to create a dressing/dip/sauce (It is very multi-functional) that would remind me of our summer there and the wonderfully flavorful meals we enjoyed.

This dressing/dip/sauce makes me smile every time I eat it.  I have been enjoying it on salads, brown rice bowls, and as a dip for veggies, gluten-free crackers, you name it.

In my never-ending quest to try and eliminate oil from my diet (click HERE to find out why), I used nuts as the base and thickener for this recipe.  You will be amazed by the wonderfully creamy texture you can achieve using nuts.

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup roasted nuts (any variety)
1 ¾ cups filtered water OR for a creamier dressing, So Delicious Milk of choice
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
¼ cup hemp seeds
½ Tbs Bragg’s liquid aminos
Heaping ½ tsp hot pimenton…more if you like spice (Spanish paprika)
Heaping ½ tsp sweet pimenton (Spanish paprika)
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs maple syrup
.

Place all of the ingredients in your high speed blender (I use my Vitamix) and blend until very creamy and smooth.

NOTE – The dressing will thicken when refrigerated.

For a printable version of this recipe click HERE. .

Please note that I am a Vitamix affiliate…and I wholeheartedly endorse the use of their wonderful product.

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Filed under Dip, Nuts, Recipes, Salad Dressing, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Vegan, Vegetarian

GUEST POST – Weelicious’ Carrot Ginger Sauce

I am super excited about today’s guest post by Catherine McCord of Weelicious…this marks her third guest post for Veggie Grettie (click HERE for her first and HERE for her second).  I can’t wait to make this recipe.  The carrots I have been buying at the Farmer’s Market right now are so sweet and flavorful, so I know this is going to be amazing.  Enjoy!!!

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When it comes to my kids, if they’re offered rice or pasta they pretty much could care less what its mixed with. But when I served this Carrot Ginger Sauce tossed with long strands of noodles they were dubious. What was this “orange pasta” sitting on their plates?

That initial skepticism changed almost immediately after their first bites. With sweetness from the carrots, salty flavor from the miso and nuttiness from the tahini, they were so hooked by the incredible taste, I think they’re going to start paying a lot more attention to what’s on their pasta and rice from now on!

Carrot Ginger Sauce (Makes 1 Cup)

1 Tbsp Canola Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp Ginger, peeled and minced
4 Medium Carrots, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp Miso
1 Tbsp Tahini
2 Tbsp Water

Accompaniments: Soba Noodles, Brown Rice, Pasta (conventional wheat or GFree)

1. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
2. Add garlic and sauté until soft, about 30 seconds.
3. Add ginger and carrots.
4. Cover and cook until carrots are soft, about 15 minutes.
5. Transfer to a food processor and add the miso, tahini and water.
6. Puree until smooth.
7. Serve tossed with pasta, soba, udon noodles or rice.

* Stays fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

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Filed under Guest Blog, Kid Friendly, Main Dish, Recipes, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

VEGAN HOLIDAY KITCHEN – Giveaway

Over the holidays I was gifted a copy of Nava Atlas’s Vegan Holiday Kitchen by my parents and I absolutely love it.  I was recently offered a copy of the book to review and when I mentioned that I already owned it we agreed that it would be wonderful to give a copy to one lucky Veggie Grettie reader.

Nava Atlas is the author and illustrator of many books on vegan and vegetarian cooking, most recently Vegan Holiday Kitchen, Vegan Express, Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons, The Vegetarian Family Cookbookand The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient GourmetA book on leafy greens, Wild About Greenswill be published in June 2012.

I have been given permission to share three of the recipes from Vegan Holiday Kitchen with you…the hardest part was choosing which ones to share!

CORN FRITTERS WITH CILANTRO SAUCE

Click HERE for the printable recipe

HEARTY LENTIL AND MUSHROOM SHEPHERD’S PIE

Click HERE for the printable recipe

CRANBERRY-CARROT CAKE

Click HERE for the printable recipe

 *** WE HAVE A WINNER ***

ASHLEY won the giveaway with the following comment-

I would really appreciate this book because I have recently been diagnosed with Lupus and as a part of keeping myself healthy (as well as my family) I have changed to a vegetarian/vegan diet as it helps keep my symptoms better controlled.
Thanks!!

All recipes and images reprinted with permission from Vegan Holiday Kitchen © 2011 by Nava Atlas, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.  Photographs by Susan Voisin

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Filed under Appetizers, Cake, Dessert, Dip, Giveaways, Holiday, Main Dish, Recipes, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Vegan, Vegetarian

VEGAN NACHO CHEESE aka VEGAN QUESO

I have to apologize for the fact that the picture for this post is not up to par, but I had to put my pride aside and post this recipe anyway because it is SO GOOD!

What would New Years Day be without nachos???  The other day I had a craving for nachos and with the New Year coming-up I decided to figure this one out…How do you make a yummy vegan nacho cheese sauce?  It turns out the answer is really easy.

My family had so much fun building their own nachos and I think everyone was happy that mama had a nacho craving!

INGREDIENTS
 
1 bag Daiya Cheddar Cheese
1 ½ cups So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1/3 cup Trader Joe’s Serrano Salsa Fresca (so good!)
 

Warm all ingredients over medium to medium-low heat until completely melted and incorporated.

I really encourage using a good quality salsa as it will have a big impact on the final product.  Trader Joe’s Serrano Salsa Fresca is seriously good.

This would also be really great in a vegan 7 layer dip.

What do you like to serve on New Years Day?

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Appetizers, Cheese, Dip, Gluten Free, Holiday, Holidays, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipes, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Vegan, Vegetarian

VEGAN RANCH DRESSING MIX – Orphaned SRC

Happy Halloween!

On a day like today when candy is king, here is a great recipe to use in order to get some salad into your little ones before they go out trick-or-treating.

I was contacted this morning by Amanda from the  Secret Recipe Club because the blog, A Cooks Quest, was orphaned in this mornings reveal.  I checked-out her blog and instantly found the recipe I wanted to make.  My son has been begging me lately to make a vegan ranch dressing that ACTUALLY tastes like ranch and thanks to A Cooks Quest I just made a vegan version that will fool the most discerning ranch aficionado!  My little guy is going to be soooooo  thrilled with me (major mom points!).

I did need to alter the recipe a little since I could not find dried minced onions (my grocery store had 4 different brands of onion powder, but no minced onions) and I think that the next time I make the mix I will reduce the salt a little.  It did not taste overly salty, but I am trying to reduce my family’s salt consumption.

Click here for the original recipe from A Cooks Quest.

INGREDIENTS for Ranch Dressing Mix

3 1/2 teaspoons organic onion powder
8 teaspoon parsley flakes
4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika

**Cook’s note-this recipe is easily modified!  I love to add salsa to it for taco salads and roasted garlic for a delicious dip**

Mix together in a bowl and then pour the contents into a coffee grinder to reduce the size of the parsley flakes.  That’s it!  Store the mix in an air tight container (I used a small mason jar).

Now you have a great mix that you can use to make Ranch Dressing and Ranch Dip.  Since I did not use the minced onions and the powder had a smaller volume, I had to adjust the amount of mix you use to make the dressing and dip.  Thank you Google for helping me figure out that 1/3 cup total mix – 16 teaspoons.  I knew that the mix would yield 4 full size dressing or dip recipes, so I was able to figure out that 4 teaspoons of mix is needed for each recipe.

To veganize the recipes I used Vegenaise and Sour Supreme by Tofutti sour cream.  I also reduced the amount of mayonnaise (originally was 1 cup) to reduce the amount of fat in the total recipe.  I replaced 1/3 cup of the mayonnaise with So Delicious Original Creamer.

DRESSING RECIPE *
 Mix 4 teaspoons dry mix with
2/3 cup Vegenaise
1/3 cup So Delicious Original Creamer and
1 cup vegan sour cream

DIP RECIPE *

Mix 4 teaspoons dry mix with 2 cups vegan sour cream

*Mix up a few hours before serving, so the flavors all blend nicely.

Enjoy!


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Filed under Dip, Gluten Free, Quick, Recipes, Salad Dressing, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Secret Recipe Club, Vegan, Vegetarian

SALSA FRESCA

Salsa Fresca is so basic and something I always have on hand.  I make large batches of it and keep it in the freezer in 1 cup portions.  The Salsa Fresca recipe below is the secret ingredient in my famous guacamole (friends and family always ask for it when we have get togethers).

INGREDIENTS

4 lbs. tomatoes on the vine

1 large onion (red or yellow)

1 large bunch of cilantro

1 jalapeno

juice of 1 lime

Himalayan salt to taste

pepper to taste

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Wash all ingredients.

Cut the tomatoes in half and seed them.  Once seeded, chop the tomatoes into large even chunks (8-12 pieces) and put them into the food processor (you may need to do this in 2-3 batches).  Pulse until the tomatoes are the size you desire.  Place the finely chopped tomatoes into a large bowl.

Place the cilantro into the food processor and pulse it until it is finely chopped.  Place the chopped cilantro in the bowl with the chopped tomatoes.

Cut the onion into 8-12 pieces and place it in the food processor.  Cut the jalapeno in half and finely chop it (I wear non latex gloves while chopping jalapenos).  If you do not want your salsa fresca to be spicy, remove and disgard the jalapeno seeds.  Pulse the onion and jalapeno until it is finely chopped.  Place the chopped onion and jalapeno mixture into the bowl with the tomatoes and cilantro.

Place the chopped onion and jalapeno mixture into the bowl with the tomatoes and cilantro.  Gently mix the chopped tomatoes, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, and juice of one lime until well combined.  Salt and pepper to taste.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Gluten Free, Raw, Recipes, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

JACKPOT – All Hail Kale

I feel like I hit the jackpot…let me explain.  At the moment my favorite restaurant meal is the All Hail Kale salad at Veggie Grill with grilled (not blackened) tempeh.  The other day I was craving it and thought, “Why not Google ‘All Hail Kale Veggie Grill Recipe?'”  Well, what do you know…the recipe was on the web!!!!!!  JACKPOT!!!!  It looks like preparing this salad is a bit involved, so I will still buy it when I go to Veggie Grill, but I am so excited to make it for BBQs and parties this Spring and Summer.

I found the recipe on gardenstotables.com:

Since obviously we at GardensToTables are big fans of using the plants we grow or get at the farmers’ market to their highest potential, we talked to Ray White, operating partner and “grillin’ guru” for The Veggie Grill, and he was kind enough to share the recipe for their very popular All Hail Kale. Those who’d like to experience The Veggie Grill will find four locations in Southern California – with more to open in the next few years. (Click “read more” for recipe.)

Photo of Ray White Courtesy of behindthefoodwordpress.com

I myself had never done any research into the founders of Veggie Grill, so when I saw this post I decided to Google Ray White.  I found a very interesting interview of Ray on Behind the Food.  Who knew that Ray White and Tanya Petrovna started Native Foods together???  To read the interview click here.

Without further ado, here is the recipe…

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INGREDIENTS – serves 8

6 bunches kale
2 cups quinoa, cooked
2 cups corn salsa (recipe below)
2 cups red cabbage
8 oz walnuts
3 cups Ginger Papaya dressing

Ginger Papaya Vinaigrette (1 1/4 quarts)
1 oz fresh ginger root
1 cup lime juice
1 ½ cups fresh papaya
½ cup rice vinegar
1 Tbs. sea salt
3 cups canola oil
1 ¼ cups evaporated cane juice

Corn Salsa (1 quart)
8 cups Roma tomatoes
1 cup red onion
½ cup cilantro
1 cup roasted corn
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 oz. lime juice

Kale:

Remove spines from kale and chop into 1″ squares. Rinse kale in cold water and  dry. Place kale in 3″ rectangular container add dressing and Quinoa, toss thoroughly, make sure all kale is coated. Refrigerate overnight

Ginger Papaya Vinaigrette:
                   
Peel ginger root and papaya, combine with all ingredients to blender (except oil) blend until smooth. Slowly drizzle oil while continuing to blend until dressing emulsifies, add to container and refrigerate

Corn Salsa:

Chop cilantro, in large bowl combine all ingredients and mix well

Finished Kale Salad Procedure:

To prepare salad add 4 cups marinated kale to plate, swirl 2 ozs raw chopped cabbage around kale, topped with 2 ozs corn salsa, 1 oz walnuts and drizzle 2 ozs dressing topped with shredded carrot

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For a printable version of this recipe click here.

1st photo of the All Hail Kale salad courtesy of vegan.com 

2nd photo of the All Hail Kale salad courtesy of  blogs.ocweekly.com

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Filed under Gluten Free, Raw, Recipes, Restaurants, Salad, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

ROASTED GARLIC

When you roast garlic it becomes so flavorful and takes on a whole new dimension.  Way back when I used to roast garlic by cutting open the head and pouring olive oil on it before wrapping it up and throwing it in the oven. 

As a result of my nutrition education I understand the need to drastically reduce consumption of added fats (especially processed fats).  I will post later in more detail about this topic, but for now lets just say that added fats contribute to our risk of heart attacks and strokes…yikes!

When it comes to roasted garlic, the good news is that it still tastes great with no added oil.  Those of you out there who have trouble digesting raw garlic will find that roasted garlic is mild and easy to digest.

Keep some on hand for adding to salad dressing, whole grain pizza, rubbing on whole grain bread, in sauces, dips, you name it…the applications are endless.

INGREDIENTS

2 heads of garlic

foil

Cut the bottom off of the heads of garlic and separate the cloves.  Wrap the separated cloves tightly in foil.

Bake at 375° for 45 minutes.  I bake mine in my Cuisinart toaster oven.  When I do not have a big casserole to bake, I really love using the toaster oven since it heats up so fast and does not expend as much energy as the regular oven.

Once roasted, allow the garlic to cool down and then squeeze the roasted garlic out of each clove.  It may get a little sticky, but it will still come out clean.

The garlic is now ready to use!

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Filed under Recipes, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian