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TURKEY BEAN CHILI

One pot meals are some of my favorite dishes because it doesn’t require a lot of time especially when you don’t have a lot of time to begin with. And because it’s so simple, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of the ease for all-around healthy food.

You can’t get any more well balanced in a meal than this turkey chili. Plenty of protein from the turkey and beans. Complex carbs from the beans with TONS of fiber from both the beans and veggies. And not to forget to mention, there is no flavor lacking in this chili. Don’t let the ground turkey concern you! Cumin is the secret to making ground turkey (or ground chicken) taste similar to beef. But if you must, you can simply use a lean ground beef instead.

I personally use half ground turkey and half ground turkey breast. The ground turkey breast is very lean with a little higher protein content, only about 1.5g of fat per 4oz and no saturated fat like regular ground turkey. It’s a fair compromise to really make it healthy. Actually, it’s just to make room for me to top it off with some of my Homemade Queso Fresco cheese, haha! For those who are diabetic, with 8 servings in this chili you’ll get about 16g net carbs which isn’t so bad for how filling it is. You can make your portion smaller and enjoy a side of veggies or a salad to keep the carbs down more.

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TURKEY BEAN CHILI
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Ingredients
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat cover the bottom of the pot with olive oil and sauté the bell peppers, onions, jalapeno, and garlic stirring until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the ground turkey, chili powder, cumin, paprika, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and dried bay leaf. Use a wooden spoon to break apart the ground turkey and mix everything together.
  3. Once the ground turkey is nearly cooked after about several minutes, add the canned crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock, and worchestershire sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce the temperature to a steady simmer for about 45 minutes uncovered. Stir once in a while.
  4. Add the black beans and kidney beans the last 5 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Revised: September 7, 2017

THAI INSPIRED SHRIMP SLAW

There’s so much I can say about this recipe! Bare with me, I’ll try to keep it simple. The “salad” itself is Thai inspired with the intention to add any more of your favorite Thai flavors into the mix. Like fresh mango! Or your favorite chopped nuts. As much as I love all the comfort foods, sweets, high carb foods like almost everyone else; I really do try to keep a balance here on the food blog. A little indulgence once in a while won’t hurt. It takes discipline with a sheer desire to want to feel good by way of adopting a healthy lifestyle. So when I share a super healthy recipe, I make sure I make it very flavorful so that you realize that healthy doesn’t have to be boring! This Thai Inspired Salad with Shrimp is the epitome of that… when something is vibrant in presentation in it’s natural state, healthy, flavorful who wouldn’t want to at least give it a try?!

I made this recipe with the intention to get people interested in giving an array of vegetables a try. Society today is starving of fresh veggies in their diet simply because people go so many years without it that when they eat it, it tastes bland and unsatisfying. Eating vegetables daily helps with regular bowel elimination, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, keeps the colon healthy, keeps the liver and gallbladder happy as well. You’ll find several different veggies prepped fine just like a coleslaw but tastier! It’s actually even better after a few hours or overnight in the fridge. Now here’s the best part about this recipe that I try to achieve with most of the stuff I make…

This salad is so multi-purpose, you can add a different citrus instead of lime. Use a different kinds of nuts or seeds. Add spices like ground ginger for a bigger kick. Throw in mango or papaya. Throw in some cubed avocado. Toss it with some of your favorite leaf lettuce. And you most certainly do not have to stick to shrimp. Use any of your favorite fish. I love any white or light fish baked or grilled with this. Right on top. Let the fish straight out of the oven warm up the veggies to get all the flavors marinating more. And if you’re not a seafood kind of person go for chicken, turkey, beef or any wild game. You do want YOU want.

Confession. I have made a hot dog… it was a turkey hot dog made of all white breast meat (that was my compromise) and topped it with this salad, with some pickles. It was THAT good. I kind of want to slather a good buffalo burger with it… spice meat with some traditional Thai spices. Go big, think creative, make the healthiest foods taste the best it ever could. It’s always possible. I’m a firm believer with the right preparation and the right spices you can make anyone enjoy their least favorite veggie. Okay, I’ll stop there. Seriously though, let me know how you chose to incorporate this recipe. I love all ideas. Enjoy!

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THAI INSPIRED SHRIMP SLAW
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Ingredients
DRESSING
SLAW
SHRIMP
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Ingredients
DRESSING
SLAW
SHRIMP
Instructions
  1. Place everything for the dressing into a blender and run it on high until everything is blended well.
  2. Toss all the veggies for the slaw with the dressing in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Mix all the spices together with the shrimp gently in a large bowl. Drizzle a large pan with olive oil over medium-high heat, toss the shrimp and let cook a few minutes until they’re pink and curled. Set aside to cool.
  4. Serve the slaw with shrimp on top.
Recipe Notes

This dish is great without shrimp but feel free to add any other seafood, poultry, or red meat.

TERIYAKI CHICKEN & SHRIMP

Teriyaki bowls are one of my utmost favorite foods ever! But I have to admit I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to the teriyaki sauce. I’ve been to Japanese restaurants and steak houses where most teriyaki experiences are so disappointing. It’s either too salty, too sweet or has no flavor at all except for pure salt. But when I can find a place that does amazing teriyaki then I’m hooked! Whole Foods actually has a great Asian Express station where they make a couple different teriyaki bowls to choose from. It’s one of my top picks for a fairly quick lunch stop.

I’ve always wanted to know how to make teriyaki sauce but never looked into it because guess what?! I made an ass of myself by ASSuming that it’s probably very difficult to make. It’s one of those sauces that you buy in a bottle at the grocery store in hopes that it will taste great… and then you’re left highly disappointed with an undying hankering for TERIYAKI! AGH!

Well freakin’ fret no more!!! Teriyaki is not difficult to make. It’s the most easiest thing in the world that I’m kicking my butt a little for not looking into it sooner. I’m just glad these ill assumptions are done and gone, hahahaha and now I can enjoy homemade teriyaki bowls. It tastes fresh and it’s not sweetened with CORN SYRUP! Sure it’s a slight guilty pleasure but who says it’s bad for you in moderation? EXACTLY!

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TERIYAKI CHICKEN & SHRIMP
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Instructions
  1. Cut the chicken breast into one inch pieces and marinate them in a glass bowl, covered for at least an hour or two in the baking soda and two tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce.
  2. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray and layout the chicken evenly. Bake at 375 F degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. In a small saucepan over low to medium heat combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, black pepper, cold water, and arrowroot powder. Let everything come to a light boil, stirring frequently and then lower the temperature to simmer until the teriyaki sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon.
  4. Drizzle the bottom of a saute pan with olive over medium-high heat and cook the bell pepper and onions until they're lightly caramelized. Then add the shrimp allowing a few minutes to cook them through.
  5. Turn the heat off, toss in the chicken with the shrimp and veggie mixture.
  6. Serve over rice. Drizzle the teriyaki sauce over the top.

TUNA CASSEROLE

Who doesn’t love comfort food? Comfort food is seriously some of the easiest dishes to make. They’re quick, full of flavor, filling and of course satisfying! With this being my favorite time of year I have to share with you a more basic meal I grew up eating. My Mom always whipped this up using those crunchy shoestring potatoes inside and on top and it was beautiful gluttony. Which you can do so if you like! But I love my veggies and it eases my guilt when I can mix them into a dish like this. I’m telling you though they add a fantastic gourmet flavor that you’ll be glad to have made a huge batch for leftovers.

And let’s face it… part of my mission in sharing this food blog is to make things a little more healthier without compromising flavor.  If you don’t like leeks, use onion instead, actually add anything you like. If I have mushrooms in the fridge I’ll slice them up and add to the saute. And if you’re a garlic freak like me then try roasting a head of garlic and throwing them in the mix. YUM!

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TUNA CASSEROLE
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Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Place a large pot of water filled with water over high heat to get the water boiling for the macaroni.
  2. Meanwhile saute the bell pepper, leek, jalapeno, salt, and pepper with olive oil over medium heat until they're almost soft. Then add the frozen peas. Stir the veggies around for another two minutes until the peas thaw then turn off the heat and set aside.
  3. Cook the noodles from both mac 'n cheese boxes as directed on the box. Once you've drained the pasta and returned to the large pot, add the two cheddar cheese pouches that came with the boxed mac 'n cheese. Also add the can of cream of mushroom and milk. Stir everything together until it's well incorporated.
  4. Lastly, fold in the 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese, albacore tuna, and sauted veggies. Place the casserole into a 9" x 13" baking dish (or a deep 9" x 9"). Sprinkle a thin layer of grated parmesan cheese on top with the remaining 1/4 cup.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 - 30 minutes or until it's bubbling and the top is golden brown.

LAMB KOFTAS & BIRYANI

THIS! Is one of my absolute favorite dishes EVER! It’s truly a fusion of concepts in many ways but what I love most about it, is the combination of spices in both the lamb koftas and this really easy biryani rice. I’ve had some bad first experiences with lamb until I had ground lamb. There’s something about lamb that requires a certain attention with the right spices to make everything marry in ways you’ll want to keep eating it. Which is totally an okay thing to do versus red meat from cow. Lamb is a much healthier alternative (in addition to bison).

Kofta is basically another name for meatball in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, although the main difference between a kofta and the usual meatball you’re more familiar with is the spices. The compilation of flavors are a little more complex BUT that doesn’t mean it’s complex to make. It’s literally just as easy as making any other meatball. These of course being lamb have some fresh mint among warm spices like cumin, coriander, garam masala and even chili powder. But they’re not spicy just VERY flavorful. I would definitely recommend this recipe for someone who has never had lamb before and are worried about any gamey-ness. In this case there is none!

And of course what better way to pair a perfect lamb kofta than with a very basic biryani. The name biryani sounds intimidating enough to make someone not want to attempt to make it. Although it’s again not that different from making any other rice dish that has lots of yummy flavor. This also is a South Asian dish where you’ll find is popular in various ways throughout the region depending on the country. What I did here is I took some basic elements of Indian cuisine, mixed it with some Persian flavors and concepts and even married it together with a few clean Latin flavors of jalapeno and coriander.

I have always had a fascination and a strong love for Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern food. Maybe I was from both regions in past lives or maybe it’s part of me in some way genetically LOL but whatever it is, when you can get several spices together and make them work so well with little effort (maybe if anything, more prep time than anything), to me that makes some incredible food. You really don’t have to go fancy with technique to prove yourself or anyone that you can cook. 🙂


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LAMB KOFTAS & BIRYANI
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Ingredients
BIRYANI
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Ingredients
BIRYANI
Instructions
MEATBALLS
  1. In a large glass bowl mix the one onion chopped VERY fine, crushed garlic, ground cumin, garam masala, ground coriander, chili powder, fresh mint, and salt.
  2. Add the ground lamb and gently fold everything together without over mixing to prevent the koftas becoming tough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes or up to a few hours.
  3. Take the large bowl of ground lamb out of the fridge to make the meatballs about an inch in diameter and place on a plate.
  4. Place about two tablespoons of olive in a large skillet over medium-high heat to sauté the cauliflower florets, bell peppers, jalapenos, the other chopped onion, garlic powder, and onion powder together for 5 minutes.
  5. Then, squeeze the juice of one lime over the mix and stir. Reduce the heat to low and let it cook for another ten minutes until onions are very translucent and everything else seems to have absorbed all of the lime juice. Remove from heat and set aside for later.
  6. In a large skillet over medium/high heat pour enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet generously and cook the meatballs, moving them around until evenly brown all around. Each one should have a firm feel to your finger tip without feeling too mushy before you place them on a large plate covered with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  7. When finished cooking all the meatballs, drain the excess oil from the skillet and toss both the meatballs with the vegetable mixture that you set aside earlier on medium heat for a couple minutes before serving.
BIRYANI
  1. In a medium saucepan pour the olive oil and butter over medium/high heat. Sauté the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, and whole cloves for about 3-5 minutes. An obvious sign is when you start to smell the strong aroma of all three together for a good minute.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and saffron threads for a couple more minutes, stirring. Throw in the basmati rice, curry powder, and ground turmeric. Stir until the rice is completely coated yellow.
  3. Add the stock, stir and leave uncovered until it starts to boil. Once it comes to a boil reduce the temperature to a simmer, cover and let the rice absorb all its liquid for about 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and keep covered until ready to serve.
Recipe Notes

To make this a diabetic friendly meal, avoid the rice and serve in large romaine lettuce as tacos. Slice the koftas in half with the veggies and enjoy.