Chicken with Rustic Spaghetti Squash

This recipe is a great grain-free recipe. It is very hearty, and you won’t feel guilty eating seconds. I liked it so much I might be joining my friends soon going grain-free because I didn’t miss the pasta at all! Serves 3-4

1 large spaghetti squash
2 lbs chicken tenders
1 TB olive oil
2 TB italian seasonings
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
4 oz sliced baby portabella mushrooms
1 TB balsamic vinegar
12 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
10 basil leaves, cut into ribbons
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

2. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash cut side down on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour.

3. When squash is finished set aside to cool. In a large skillet heat 1 TB olive oil over medium heat. Meanwhile season both sides of all the chicken tenders with salt, pepper, and italian seasonings. Working in batches, so as to not crowd the pan, cook the chicken until cooked through. Depending on the size of the tenders about 5-8 minutes per side.

4. Set chicken aside and cover. Add to the pan the onions, stirring until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic, stirring until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in vinegar and then add the mushrooms, cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Finally add the fire-roasted tomatoes and let the sauce simmer to reduce the liquid.

5. While sauce is simmering, test the squash to see if it is cool enough to handle. If it is slightly too warm, use a towel to hold it skin side down. Taking a fork, scrape the inside of the squash, which will pull away to look like thin strands of spaghetti. Scrape it into a bowl and set aside.

6. Returning to the sauce, season it with salt and pepper. Then add the basil in. Here you have the option of serving the sauce over the spaghetti squash or you can mix in the squash (as shown) so that the squash can take on the flavor of the sauce.

7. Serve the squash and pasta sauce with the chicken on top. Garnish with parmesan cheese. This goes great with a tossed salad.

This recipe is shared with the Nourishing Gourmet Pennywise Platter. To see this and more recipes please visit http://www.nourishinggourmet.com

Chicken Noodle Soup

This is a classic comfort soup that is great! If you are gluten-free simply use rice pasta, or if you are completely grain-free try cooking a spaghetti squash and using that as a substitute. Home-made broth really helps set this soup apart and is full of vitamins. If you would like to make your own stock, please visit my recipe for that.

6 c chicken broth
shredded meat from 1 chicken
5 large carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks plus the inside leafy part, sliced
1 medium onion diced
8 oz noodles
2 TB Parsley
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper

1. In a stock pot over medium heat cook the onion until soft (5 minutes) stirring occasionally.

2. Add carrots and celery and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

3. Add chicken, thyme, and broth. Cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the carrots start to soften.

4. About 10 minutes before serving make sure the pot is at a boil and add the noodles. Cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes.

5. Add parsley, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve.

Beef Broth

Soup bones can be purchased from any butcher or meat counter. The bones are chock full of vitamins, studies have shown that consuming homemade broth based soups help boost the immune system. Healthwise it is worth the extra effort, which other than making a time commitment, it really isn’t that much. I like to make broth when I am doing other tasks, such as laundry, because I know that it will keep me at home anyway. The prep-work doesn’t take long. I just have to periodically check it throughout the day.

2-3lbs of soup bones, preferably organic and grass-fed
olive oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots peeled
2 celery ribs, ends trimmed
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 TB peppercorns
1 sprig of rosemary and thyme
1 tsp of whole (not ground) cloves
1 TB Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Bay leaf

1. Preheat oven to 450. Place bones in a 9×13 baking dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil to keep from sticking. Bake in oven for 30-45 mins. Remove bones and set aside. While pan is still hot, slowly add 2 cups of water. Using a wooden spoon scrap up the little bits on the bottom of the pan.

2. In a stock pot place bones, water from the pan, onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Fill pot up with additional water and add apple cider vinegar. Heat over medium low heat.

3. As the broth cooks a foam will appear on the surface, skim this off to remove any impurities. Once this is complete add in the herbs. Continue to cook over medium low heat. The total cook time for the broth should be 6-8 hours. The broth is ready when it takes on a warm brown appearance.

4. Ladle the broth out and place through a strainer while pouring it into another container. Set aside broth either in the refrigerator or freezer for future use.

Beef, should it be for dinner?

Over the years it has been much debated as to how healthy it is to eat beef. I propose that it isn’t so much as if beef in general is healthy, but the type of beef. As most of you know I am for organic produce and meats. But here are 6 reasons why grass-fed is better than grain-fed beef.

1. TASTE- If you have ever had a steak or roast from a grass-fed cow, I don’t see how you could possibly ever go back. There is so much more flavor in grass-fed beef. If you have never tried it, you don’t know what you are missing!

2. LESS FAT- Grass-fed cows are healthier than grain-fed cows. Grass-fed cows are allowed more space to wander and eat healthier. It use to be that you would be hard pressed to find a grain- fed cow, but with the way of economics, farmers have found a way that helps them keep up with the great demand. As an example, if I cook 1 lb or grass-fed ground beef, I have just enough fat to keep the meat from sticking to the pan. The meat is by no means greasy, I have also not asked for a lean type of beef. That is just how it is with the grass-fed. However with grain-fed, to get the same results you must order lean ground beef, which is utterly devoid of all the flavor of the grass-fed, leaving much to be desired.

3. HIGHER IN VITAMINS- On average grass-fed beef contains more vitamins than grain-fed. It is also well know that beef in general has a high amount of iron.

4. OMEGA 3- Studies have been done to show that grass-fed beef has up to 5 times the amount of omega 3 in it than grain-fed beef. Omega 3’s are heart healthy and have many physical benefits.

5. CLA-conjugated linoleic acid. I won’t pretend that I understand everything about CLA, but what I do understand is positive! Like omega 3 it is a healthy fat, that is still being researched to find out all the great benefits that come from consuming it. I look forward to all the new insights that will be coming out in the next few years and have great hopes that it will be the “in thing” for health as omega 3’s.
For more information on this new healthy fat please visit:
http://www.eatwild.com/cla.html

6. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT- It is much more humane for the animals than grain-fed beef. Cows were not meant to be kept in feed lots, standing in their own manure with no way to get out of it. Grain is no doubt more cost-effective, it lacks the essential nutrients for a healthy cow. Corporate farms feed cows this grain because it is cheaper, they can get more cows per acre, and they get more at market because the cows are fatter. We as a society understand that eating junk food all the time is unhealthy and can kill us. Why do we then not understand that eating animals that are essentially fed (for them) junk food, is not only unhealthy for them, but for us as well? If you have ever watched Food INC. , you would come away with the understanding that most of the beef on the market today (had they not been slaughtered) would have still died soon there after because of the way they were fed.

*For more information please visit http://www.eatwild.com or if you wish to see where the food you buy in the supermarket really comes from, I encourage you to watch Food INC If you have a Netflix account you should be able to stream to your computer or tv.

Asian Chicken Soup

*Note: Use the Chicken Stock recipe as a base for this soup. If you don’t have the time available, you can make this soup quickly using store-bought broth and a rotisserie chicken. Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
1Tb sesame oil
1 medium onion,diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
6 c chicken broth
1/2 c hoisin sauce
1/4 c soy sauce
crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
shredded meat of 1 chicken
16 oz frozen bag of asian vegetable medley (defrosted)
8 oz soba noodles

1. In a stock pot heat oil over medium heat. Add onion garlic cloves, cook until soft. About 5 minutes, stir as necessary.

2. Add the following : broth, hoisin, soy sauce, pinch of pepper flakes, coriander, mustard, ginger, pepper, and salt. Allow this to heat to a simmer.

3. Add shredded chicken and vegetables. Cook until vegetables are soft. About 8-10 minutes.

4. Allow soup to simmer until you are about 15 minutes away from serving. Bring soup to a boil, then add the soba noodles and cook for about 6-8 minutes or according to the package’s directions.

** Salt and pepper can be adjusted to taste. If you desire more heat, just add more red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

Homemade Laundry Detergent Pennies Per Load

I can’t believe it, but it is actually time to make laundry detergent again! The last time I made the laundry detergent was before Andrew was born. So it’s been 9-10 months 🙂 It is easy and very inexpensive! You will need the following:

5 gallon bucket with lid
1 c liquid Dr. Bronners castile soap
2 c Super Washing Soda
2 c borax
rinsed out old laundry detergent bottle

1. Mix 1 cup of the castile soap with 3 cups of HOT water. Let sit for a few minutes.

2. Meanwhile put the Super Washing Soda (must be the super not regular baking soda) and borax in the 5 gallon bucket. Fill the bucket half way with Hot tap water, stirring as you go.

3. Add the castile soap water mixture and then fill the bucket up the rest of the way with HOT water.

4. Cover bucket with lid and let sit overnight. The soap will become thicker, but it will not be as thick as store-bought detergents. Store bought detergents have thickening agents added that don’t really get your clothes clean.

5. The next day fill your detergent bottle 1/2 way with the detergent concentrate from the 5 gallon bucket. Then fill the rest of the way with hot water. Put cap on and shake bottle so that it is well mixed. For top load washing machines use 2/3 c for front load use 1/4 cup per load.

* I have found that people who try to make this in smaller quantities don’t have much luck getting it to turn out. If you tend to have very dirty clothes add 8-10 drops of tea tree oil the concentrate before you let it sit over night. You can add other essential oils if you wish they have different cleaning properties and can add fragrance to your clothes. As I have a baby I use this recipe, and just add 1-2 drops of tea tree oil to the laundry when need be.

** If you don’t want to buy the liquid you can grate bar soap and then add it to 4 cups hot water cook over stove until it soap is melted. Then follow rest of recipe. I personally like the liquid soap it takes less time and I use the leftovers for bathtime etc.