02/12/13

Chicken Pear and Pistachio Salad

When it comes to nutrition, I like to think that I have a pretty good understanding of how to fuel properly throughout the day and post-workouts to recovery properly and try to be as lean as possible.  Lots of diets come and go (Atkins, low fat, etc.), usually with a lot of hype and with little success for people.  True, people may loose weight from these fad diets.  But it’s always interesting to check the person’s overall body composition before and after.  For example, Atkins diet causes people to loose weight quickly, but in the end their body fat percentage is often higher and the toxins in someone’s body from having to use protein instead of fat and carbs as a fuel source is something that a lot of people don’t know about.

Paleo diet seems to be the next diet fad that has hit America.  However, I do believe there is something to be said about this diet.  From what I understand about this diet, grains, milk, beans/legumes are off limits.  The diet promotes a high fat and protein diet from lean meats and nuts/seeds.  Carbohydrates are obtained through starchy vegetables,  such a sweet potato.

I hate jumping on board with fad diets until I have time to think them through and see if it would work for me as an endurance junkie.  I think that if I took this diet to the extreme, I would lack energy since I need lots of carbohydrates to fuel my workouts, recovery, and just have energy throughout the day.  Also, I’m not a big meat person… I prefer to cook without it and use beans/legumes instead.  However, I think that it could be good thing to do occasionally (maybe 3 or so meals a week… or late night snacking).  So I made my first Paleo diet meal with one modification… I added some feta cheese to this delicious salad:

  • 1 bag (9 ounce) of spinach
  • 1 bag (7 ounce) of craisins or dried fruit (i used dried pomegranates)
  • 1 cup chopped  chicken (i cooked an entire chicken in the crock pot and divided the meat into fourths, bagging the other three bags of meat from the chicken and throwing it in the freezer.  The entire chicken was only $5)
  • 2/3 cup pistachios
  • 8 ounce block of Feta cheese – shredded/crumbled
  • 2 pears, chopped
Use a dressing of your choice… I think that a raspberry vinaigrette would be a good pairing, or balsamic vinaigrette.  Enjoy!

 

12/26/12

Gluten Free Brown Rice Muffins

Merry (late) Christmas to everyone.  I hope you all made some memories with families and friends during this busy time of year and took time to reflect on the true reason for the season.

Yesterday, one of the gifts that I received from my parents was a set of muffin tins.  Yup… I actually asked for those!  I have been wanting some for quite some time now.  The main reason was because I found a recipe in “The Feed Zone” book that I wanted to try.  I wasted no time and decided to try to make them today:

Brown Rice Muffins (Gluten-Free)

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (I used a whole apple which was about one cup chopped instead)
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • pinch of salt
  • vanilla extract
  • ground cinnamon

  1. Heat oven to 325 and lightly grease the muffin tin
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend til a nice batter is formed
  3. Divide into muffin tins and bake for about 15-20 minutes

This recipe made 10 muffins for me.

12/10/12

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes

This last July, I made a trip to Portland, OR for a race and vacation.  I had the privledge of staying with a really neat host family, the Dailey family.  The made me feel right at home in a new location.  Jason (the father/husband) and I had a fair amount in common… triathletes, loved the outdoors, and health nuts.  While I was there, he was frequently made stuff from scratch from very simple ingredients.  Not only did he whip the meals together in lightening speed, but they were full of fresh fruits, veggies, and/or whole grains (mostly rice or quinoa).  I asked him where he got all these great ideas and he showed me a book that was written by two chefs for the Radio Shack pro cycling team.  The book is called “The Feed Zone.”

The feed zone is a book full of recipes that are easy to make and are designed for athletes.  We all have busy schedules and don’t have a ton of extra time to make nutritious meals, but with the tricks mentioned in this book it can reduce meal prep time in half.  Plus, since the cooks were literally working in a bus, they had limited ingredients.  So almost every recipe has about 7 ingredients or less!

Today I tried the Sweet Potato Pancake recipe in the book… but did a little spin on it.  I made it gluten free.  It’s still simple, cheap, and delicious.

Here’s how to make it gluten free.  Pictures below to give you a visual on how to do it as well:

  • 2 cups of old fashioned oats (after putting them into a blender to make flour.  It just under 4 cups of oats)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups cook sweet potatos, mashed (or one large can organic sweet potatoes)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups soy or almond milk

1. combine all ingredients in a bowl and use an electric hand mixer to mix together into a thick batter consistency

2.  Heat oven to 375 degrees

3.  Spray olive oil, or another nonstick spray, on a baking sheet.  Spread batter evenly over a large baking sheet

4.  Bake for about 30 minutes

I like to use the oven because I make a large batch of pancakes all at the same time instead of doing one or two at a time.

 

Now that you’ve made some delicious pancakes, don’t ruin them with a cheap syrup made from corn.  Splurge a little and buy some real maple syrup… your taste buds (and body) will thank you!

12/5/12

Athlete Friendly and Gluten Free Pizza

I do my best to eat well.  I am a firm believer in the importance of what we ingest on a daily basis plays a significant role in our body’s immediate health, health down the road when we get older, and athletic purposes.  Choosing the right foods to eat at specific times of the day will help the body recover from previous stress placed on it during training and as a result help us perform better in the races.

Like everyone else out there, I crave junk food every once in a while and succumb to the pressure.  When our body craves something, it may be lacking a nutrient found in the food… the trick is knowing what the body wants and finding other ways to fill that need.  Over the last few days, I was really craving pizza.   I decided that I was going to make my own pizza from scratch to make it healthier and full of good protein sources.  And like every good pizza, it starts with a good crust (in this case, gluten-free) with very simple ingredients:

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1/2 9oz bag of spinach
  • 3-4 carrots, shredded

Preparing the crust:

  1. place rice and lentils in water and soak for about 8 hours
  2. Drain the water and place all ingredients in a food processor (adding water if needed to help it blend together) until it forms a paste
  3. Spray a cookie pan with nonstick spray
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes
  5. remove crust from oven

I decided to make a Mediterranean style pizza.  I put artichokes, olives, mushrooms, and spinach on it (I wish it was summer and had a garden fresh tomato to put on it too).  I covered it with about 1.5 lbs of mozzarella cheese and put it back in the oven until the cheese just started to turn golden brown (about 15 more minutes)

I let it sit for a few minutes, then cut it.  To finish it off, I sprinkled some balsamic vinegar on it.

If you want to make it vegan, simply do the following and use instead of the cheese.  Pour over the pizza toppings and enjoy:

Vegan mozzarella

1 c Water

2 sm Cloves roasted garlic

2 tb Fresh lemon juice

1 tb Tahini Paste (the larger amount the cheesier it is)

1/4 c Nutritional yeast

3 tb Quick-cooking rolled oats

1 tb Arrowroot (or cornstarch)

1/8 ts Dry mustard

1 1/2 ts Onion powder

1/2 ts Salt; or salt-free seasoning

 

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and process until completely smooth.

 

 

10/24/12

Light and Zesty Chicken and Rice

  • Chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1/3 cup Italian dressing
  • 1.5 cups brown rice, uncooked
  • 2 bags frozen mixed veggies
  • 1 can (2.8 oz) French Onions
  • 1 ¾ cups ck. Broth
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning

 

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 325

2.  Place rice at bottom of baking dish

3.  Put chicken, veggies, dressing and seasoning on next and cover w/ aluminum foil

4.  Bake for 2 hours (until rice is done), then pour French onions over the top and bake uncovered for 10 more minutes (until onions are browned)

10/24/12

Skillet Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lb. chicken
  • Mesquite seasoning
  • 1 green pepper sliced
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 1 can green chilies
  • 1 can corn (or two cups frozen)
  • 8 corn tortillas (6 inches), cut into cubes
  • Salsa con queso
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream

 

Preparation:

  1. Cook chicken a season to taste
  2. Add peppers, corn and chilies and cook until tender; add tortillas
  3. Stir in desired amount of remaining ingredients
10/24/12

Curried Chicken and Brown Rice

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 (8 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup  brown rice
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • Green peppers

 

Directions:

  1. Cook chicken in a pan until no longer pink
  2. whip eggs in a bowl and then add to chicken
  3. cook brown rice with water
  4. once eggs and chicken are cooked, add the remaining ingedients.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes
  5. serve chicken mixture over rice
10/24/12

3 cheese chicken pasta bake

2 cups multi-grain pasta or gluten free pasta

9 oz. spinach

1 lb. chicken

1 tsp. basil

1 can (14.5 oz.) spaghetti sauce

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained

2 oz. cream cheese

1 cup mozzarella Cheese

2 tbps grated parmesan Cheese

 

Preparation:

  1. Cook pasta as directions and add spinach for last minute
  2. cook chicken and basil in skillet until chicken cooked then add sauce and tomatoes.  Bring to boil and stir in cream cheese
  3. drain pasta mixture, stir in ck. Mixture and ½ cup mozz. Cheese.  Place in baking dish
  4. bake for 20 min. @ 375… sprinkle w/ remaining cheese
10/19/12

Potato and Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups potatoes, diced
  • 6 cups spaghetti squash, baked
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese
  • ¾ cups parm. Cheese
  • 4 egg whites
  • 9 oz bag spinach
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic salt
  • Flax seed (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Boil potatoes until tender and then drain water
  2. Add spinach, salsa, and diced tomatoes and wait until the spinach cooks down
  3. add onions, cream cheese, parm cheese, egg whites, squash, and spices/salt
  4. cook until bubbly and all the cheese is melted
10/19/12

Mock-Cheese Zucchini, Rice, and Lentil Casserole

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup lentil
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup soy milk
  • Garlic salt
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 3.5 cups water

 

Combine all ingredients in 9×13 pan and bake covered w/ aluminium foil w/ holes poked in it at 350 for 2 hours.  Uncover for about the last 10 min of baking.