Cajun Chicken Zoodles

It was pointed out to me last night that it’s been a while since I shared a recipe and that’s something I’d been thinking about for a while myself.  I haven’t been very creative in the kitchen lately.  I’ve been so run-down and busy that most of my eats have been quick and easy, minimal thinking and effort required.

I did however a couple of weeks adapt an old favourite recipe of mine, Cajun Chicken Pasta with the intention of sharing it and I think the time has come.

This recipe used to call for cream, butter, pasta, it was a real treat and one that I had far too often (insert bulging stomach here), however my new way of having it tastes pretty much exactly the same, is gluten and dairy free, low carb and most of all, full of goodness.

Cajun Chicken Zoodles

Zoodle

For two serves:

3 tbsp coconut oil
200 gm chicken breast, diced
1 diced onion
5 sliced button mushrooms
1/2 red pepper sliced
1/2 can coconut cream (refrigerate overnight and scoop out the white from the top)
2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 tbsp thyme flake
Salt and pepper to taste
2 zucchini

In a large pan heat 1 tbsp of oil on medium heat.

Brown chicken for 3-4 minutes then set aside.

Heat remaining oil, then soften onions until translucent.

Add mushrooms and peppers and sautee for 2-3 minutes.

Add chicken back into pan.

Add the white part of the coconut cream.

Mix in Cajun, lemon pepper and thyme well.

Cover and simmer until chicken is tender, approximately 20 minutes.

During simmering, use a spiralizer to cut the zucchini into noodles (zoodles), or thinly slice them.

Season the chicken mixture to taste.  You may want to add more Cajun or lemon pepper as well.

Stir in zoodles and heat for a couple of minutes until the zoodles are softened, but still a little firm and the cream has reduced a little.

Serve immediately.  I also like to make extra as it reheats nicely the next day for lunches.

Hope you enjoy this recipe, would love to know what you think if you try it.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

 

 

Cheesy Chickpea Balls

It’s my first official day off the elimination diet, but old habits die hard and I stuck at eating all unprocessed foods prepared by myself. But that’s my intention. I’ll be having the occasional treat/cheat, but sticking as best as I can to The 80/20 Rule as I’ve started learning to listen to my body. Basically, when I’ve been eating too much crap, I’ll know, either by my skin flaring up, headaches, tiredness… If I don’t feel amazing, it’ll be time to look at what I’ve been eating.

I’m on holiday at the moment. It’s my birthday week (I’m like a child) and I almost always take the entire week off to celebrate. There are no plans, It’s just a week for me to have a break, have some me time and do whatever I want. And I intend to.

Of course I’ll be spending quite a bit of time in the kitchen and today, being the first official day of my holiday, was no exception.

It’s another vegetarian dish this week, I’m still playing Meat Free Monday and absolutely loving it, part of the reason being that I love experimenting in the kitchen. My first few Mondays without meat while still being on the elimination diet were a bit boring. Roasted vegetables with a poached egg seemed to be the extent of my vegetarian knowledge. But there is so much more that you can do! So I started branching out, beginning with homemade vegetarian pizza. It was good.

This is a day before grocery day recipe, which means using whatevers available in the fridge, freezer or pantry. It’s been a while since I’ve eaten chickpeas and I found a can in the cupboard, so there was my base sorted, boom! I quite often make chickpea fritters, but I wanted something crunchy today and here is the result.

As always this recipe is gluten and refined sugar free. It’s also nut free and obviously vegetarian. I had four balls as a main with kale chips and steamed kumara (sweet potato) but it would also make an excellent side or nibbles dish.

Cheesy Chickpea Balls

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1 400g can of chickpeas
2 eggs
1 small onion, finely diced
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp coriander flakes
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/4 cup gluten free flour (I used brown rice)
1/2 cup rice breadcrumbs (almond meal would also work)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 180℃

Drain and rinse the chickpeas and mash roughly with a fork

Add onion, garlic, chia seeds, coriander, parsley, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper, grated cheese and mix well

Add one egg and mix well

Using your hands roll generous desert spoon sized handfuls into balls. This made 10 balls for me

Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat.

In three separate bowls, place the rice flour in one, the rice breadcrumbs in another, and beat the 2nd egg into the third

Coat the balls in the rice flour first, this gives the egg something to stick to.

Then coat in the egg

Then generously coat with the rice breadcrumbs

Place the balls in the hot pan and fry for 3-4 minutes, turning often, to seal the coating

Line a baking tray or dish with baking paper

Place the balls on the tray and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown, turning once.

These, were, yummy. And easy. Bit of prep but nothing major. Plus I have plenty left over for sides for other nights. I’m going to test out freezing them so I’ll update this post once I know how well it works.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

Salads don’t have to be restricted to the summertime and this one is an absolute favourite of mine.  I was at a bit of a loss for what to have for lunch over the weekend and there wasn’t a huge amount of selection being so close to grocery day. Then I remembered this salad I used to make a few years ago.

This is not my own creation, but I’ve adapted it over the years to suit my tastes. I remember showing up to the family Christmas lunch one year with it and my cousin had prepared the same dish with her own twists! It’s a great way to use quinoa too which is bursting with nutrients. As always this recipe is gluten and refined sugar free and as a bonus this weeks recipe is also egg, nut and dairy free (although I sometimes add sliced almonds or feta)! The quinoa also makes it protein rich, which is an important quality for salads.

Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

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1 medium orange kumara (sweet potato) cubed (approx 2 cups)
1/4 crown pumpkin, cubed (approx 2 cups)
1 red onion cut into wedges
4 garlic cloves
2 cups shredded spinach
1 tbsp basil
1 cup quinoa
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (to taste)
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 180 degrees

In a saucepan, place quinoa and 2 cups of water (or stock to add more flavour)

Bring to the boil then simmer until all water is absorbed, stirring occasionally

Once ready, fluff with a fork then set aside in a bowl

Line a baking dish with tinfoil

Spread pumpkin and kumara and garlic cloves evenly across baking dish

Sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil

Bake for 15 minutes

Toss vegetables and add red onion.  Bake for a further 10 minutes

Add roasted vegetables to the quinoa and mix well

Add balsamic vinegar and mix well

Add spinach and mix well

I like to have this salad on it’s own, it’s good hot from the oven, reheated in the microwave and is just as good cold too.  It also makes an excellent side dish.

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

Chicken And Kumara Curry

The thing I love about winter, is the food.  It’s the perfect time to have thick, warming soups, hearty roasts, tasty casseroles and creamy curries.  Some of my favourite veggies are in season this time of year, like kumara (sweet potato for my non Kiwi readers), pumpkin and yams (Oca) which means they are way more affordable than in the summer time.  I’m definitely a seasonal shopper, it’s a lot easier on the budget!

I’m quite a curry fan.  Unfortunately for me, since being on my elimination diet, I can no longer handle spicy food like I used to be able to.  I can still have a bit of spice, but what I find hot nowadays I would have barely been able to taste back in the day.  So this prompted me to find milder curries to enjoy and I’ve managed to adapt one that I think is just perfect.

Chicken and Kumara Curry

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I started eating this curry after I reintroduced butter into my diet.  It’s still unprocessed, gluten free, healthy, refined sugar free and it’s easy which I absolutely love for busy weeknights.  And the best part, it’s a flavour explosion!  I made this for my friend last weekend, who made the comment that she doesn’t like kumara, but she liked that meal.  That for me is a total win.

For 3 serves

300 gm chicken breast diced
50 gm butter
1.5 tbsp hot curry powder
1 onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium sweet potato, cubed
1 cup of broccoli florets (I like to chop them even smaller)
1 kale leaf, shredded
400 gm can coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste

 

Heat a wok or frying pan on medium heat and melt the butter

Add curry powder and mix well

Add onion and garlic and gently soften for 2-3 minutes

Add chicken and stir fry until browned.

Shake the coconut milk can to combine the contents then add to the chicken

Add kumara and stir well

Cover and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes

Add broccoli and kale and mix well

Cover and simmer again for a further 10 minutes, or until kumara is soft

Season to taste then serve

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I like to serve this on brown rice or cauli rice, but it’s also nice by itself.  I’ve been eating this once a week for dinner and the leftovers for lunch ever since I first made it and I always get comments from my work mates about how nice it smells.  I’d share it with them but it’s too tasty for that!

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

 

Ricotta Muffins With Kale and Bacon

A couple of weeks ago while I was drifting off to sleep I had a thought that I should make some breakfast muffins.  So I got up extra early the next day and experimented with Ricotta and I’m so glad that I did.  These were so yummy, surprisingly filling and ridiculously easy.  Not bad for something that came together in my head while I should have been sleeping!

These savoury muffins are gluten free, nut free and refined sugar free.  Light, fluffy and moist these are a delicious alternative for breakfast and would make awesome snacks and sides as well. And the best part?  They have bacon in them!  I successfully reintroduced bacon into my diet a few weeks ago and I have been adding bacon to as many of my meals as possible since because I love it so much (people who know me know I am actually obsessed with bacon).

Ricotta Muffins With Kale and Bacon

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2 eggs
125 gm ricotta
2 tbsp coconut flour
¾ cup oat flour
½ cup olive oil
Pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup of kale, shredded thinly
1-2 bacon rashes, chopped up into pieces
1/2 cup grated cheese

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Mix eggs, ricotta and oil well.

Add in flours, salt, baking powder and chia seeds, mix well.

Mix in kale, bacon and cheese

Grease a 6 cup silicone muffin mould well.

Divide mix evenly between the cups.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through.

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These are best served warm, they reheat really nicely in the microwave.  They freeze well so are a good idea for meal prep too.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

No Bake Coconut Lemon Slice

Last week I reintroduced butter into my diet.  I don’t eat bread anymore so there hasn’t been a lot of need for me to have butter this year, but I do like to use it in some of my cooking as I find it adds a nice flavour.  After a few days of having a little bit of butter each day with no reactions, I decided that it was time to do some baking with it!

When I was little mum did a lot of baking.  She made all sorts of goodies, my favourite being ‘nanas chocolate fudge’ but she also made some that I wasn’t so keen on, like Citrus Slice.  I just couldn’t for the life of me work out why anyone would want to eat a biscuit that didn’t have chocolate in it.  Honestly, I thought she was crazy.  Sorry mum!

I’ve grown up a bit since then.  To be honest, I would have turned my nose up at a citrus slice even a few years ago, but since being on my elimination diet and with Junk Free June this month, I’ve had to branch out a little bit.  And it’s been good for me, my treats are no longer solely chocolate based! So with mums slice in mind I decided to see what I could do and I have to say I’m really happy with the result.

I posted a picture of these yesterday on my Instagram and Facebook pages and I have to say I’ve never had so many requests for a recipe, so I’m sharing due to popular demand. So excited that I can actually say that!

This is a gluten free and sugar free no bake slice reminiscent of mums Citrus Slice that I never used to like as a child.  I think I may finally be a grown up!

No Bake Coconut and Lemon Slice

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For the base:

10 dates, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
50 gm melted butter
½ cup almond meal
¼ cup coconut flour
A few drops of liquid stevia (to taste)
Juice of 1 lemon

For the icing/curd:

Juice of 1-2 lemons (depends how strong you want the lemon taste)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
50 gm butter, cubed
3-4 drops of liquid Stevia (to taste)

Coconut flakes and/or lemon zest to garnish

 
Line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Whisk the lemon and egg and stevia for the icing together in a small saucepan.

Turn the heat onto low and add in the butter.

Stir until butter is melted.

Turn heat up to medium and stir continuously until the mix thickens, it should be quite thick and not too runny.

Push the mixture through a sieve to remove any eggy bits and set aside.

In a food processor or blender mix all base ingredients well. If the mixture is too wet a little more coconut flour.

Press dough into the lined loaf tin.

Spread icing evenly over.

Top with coconut flakes and/or lemon zest.

Put in the freezer for 2 hours to set before cutting.

 

This slice can be stored in the fridge as it gets a little soft at room temperature. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do and as always would love to know what you think of it.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

 

 

Sweet and Savoury Stuffed Crepes

It’s recipe time again and I’ve got another vegetarian dish for you today. I do actually eat quite a lot of meat but I’ve been experimenting so much lately for Meat Free Monday and I’ve had quite a bit of success which I like to share.

A couple of weeks ago I was a bit stumped for what to have for dinner that Monday.  I’d been really slack with my meal planning and had just been winging it for a while, which made for some lovely and interesting creations, but also for a lot of last minute thinking.  Often I would start cooking with no idea what I was making, just the ingredients.

This was one of those occasions and the result was just wonderful.  It’s a cross between enchiladas and cannelloni, at least that’s where the inspiration came from, but I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t justifiably call it either, so Sweet and Savoury Stuffed Crepes it is.  These are vegetarian, gluten free and have a dairy free option and are ridiculously tasty.

Sweet And Savoury Stuffed Crepes

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For the crepes:

2 eggs
4 tbsp brown rice flour
5 tbsp water
Pinch of salt
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

For the filling:

1 medium sized orange kumara (sweet potato)
6 button mushrooms, sliced
Small onion, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:

3 tomatoes roughly chopped
½ small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Grated cheese for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 180 ℃.

Start by making the crepes.  Heat the oil in a small frying pan (I used 10inch) on medium heat.

Mix the remaining crepe ingredients well.  If mixture is too thick add a little more water.

Spoon a little mixture onto the frying pan to cover the base.  It should be a very thin layer, approximately 5 dessertspoons of mix.

Cook until the top has dried a little and the underside is lightly browned.  Carefully flip.

Cook until underside is lightly browned, set aside and repeat.  This should make 5-6 crepes.

While making crepes, peel and cube the kumara and boil in water until soft.

While kumara is boiling, heat 1 tsp of the oil in a pan on medium heat and gently sauté the mushrooms and onions.

In a separate frying pan, sauté all the sauce ingredients except cheese on medium heat until tomatoes soften. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl then blitz until smooth with a stick blender.

Mash the kumara well and add the remaining olive oil, mushrooms, onions, cinnamon, salt and pepper and stir until creamy.

Spread the filling evenly across the crepes.  You want to do this in a line down the centre of the crepe.

Line a baking dish with baking paper.

Roll up crepes and place in the baking dish with the overlapped side facing down so that they don’t spring open.

Spoon sauce evenly across the middle of the crepes then sprinkle with cheese if desired.

Bake at 180 for 20 minutes before serving.

These can be served as a main over rice with vegetables or as a side themselves.

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie