BBQ Chicken Cauliflower Pizza

Jesse and I have been together for nearly 4 years.  In that time, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I eat more than he does.  When you can admit this is when you know you’re comfortable with someone.

Some ladies are dainty eaters.  I’m not judging them.  If you can eat a piece of salmon and some zucchini and be done for the night, then more power to you.  I wish I wasn’t a hangry beast.  I’d probably save a ton of money.  I know the expectation that the woman in the relationship eats about half as much as the man, but that certainly isn’t the case for us.

I think early on in our dating, I probably ate less (at least in front of him), so he wouldn’t think I was the Cookie Monster (I am).  I distinctly remember having a conversation about this with my sister.  I’m 100% positive that at one point she said, “yeah, he doesn’t eat very much. Like pio pio” (FYI, pio pio is the sound little chicks make in Spanish).  This isn’t meant to criticize Jesse’s eating habit; him and his habits are perfectly fine.  I admire his ability to say no to certain foods, yet be able to eat half a wheel of brie.

Now that the new-ness ship has sailed, I can eat three tacos and be a happy camper (while lusting over gelato after dinner); he can eat sunflower seeds with beer and call it a night.  After all, it’s just food.  How much I eat in relation to him doesn’t define our relationship.  It’s just a funny quirk about us.

But some days, we’re equals on the eating front.  Last night, we both ate half a pizza.  Not a regular pizza.  This cauliflower pizza.

BBQ Chicken Cauliflower Pizza2

It was delightful.  I bring this all up, because I was thinking about serving size for this recipe.

How many does this serve?  2 hungry people who went to crossfit earlier that day? 4 not so hungry folks? 4 normal people if complemented with a side salad? 6 children?  It’s not clear.

Make it and let me know how much you eat in one sitting.  Like I said, I ate half the pizza in one sitting.  It sounds obscene, but I promise you’ll want to eat at least half too.

BBQ Chicken Cauliflower Pizza1

BBQ Chicken Cauliflower Pizza

10-12oz cauliflower (about 1/2 a large head), grated
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tbsp butter
1/4 onion, sliced
1 chicken breast
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
few pinches of salt
1/2 cup BBQ Sauce
2-3 oz sharp cheddar, shredded (or more if you’d like)

There are three main components of this pizza.

1. Make the crust. 2. Cook the chicken and onions. 3. Assemble the pizza and bake.

I suggest doing it in that order but if you want to do 2 before 1, that’s cool too.  Let’s be flexible.

To make the crust:

Pre-heat oven to 425F. Grate your cauliflower.  I did this in the vitamix by cutting the cauliflower into pieces then pulsing it in batches until it looked somewhat like cauliflower rice.  Once it’s all grated, combine cauliflower, eggs, pecorino romano cheese, salt and italian seasoning.   Mix it all together.  Then press the mixture into a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Try to get it as thin as you can so it will be crispy and not soggy.

Once you’ve got it as thin as you can, bake for 15 minutes, take out of oven until ready to assemble.

While the crust is baking cook your onions and chicken.  First, add butter to a skillet, then add the onions. Let those cook until soft (about 10 minutes or longer, let them hang out, they’ll get tastier), put onions into a small bowl or plate.  Cut the chicken into small pieces, then add chicken to the same pan where you cooked the onions.  Season with salt, pepper, paprika and chili powder.  Toss occasionally until cooked through, set aside.

Now that your crust is cooked, assemble the pizza.  Spread 1/2 cup BBQ sauce on pizza, top with onions and chicken, then put cheese on top.  I like to put the cheese on top of the toppings to keep the chicken and onions from burning.  Feel free to add a little extra pecorino on top if you’d like.

Bake 10-12 more minutes, until the crust is browned and crispy and the cheese is melty.  Allow to cool a few minutes, then slice and serve.

BBQ Chicken Cauliflower Pizza3

Like I said, serving size? I’m not sure.  This pizza probably feeds 2-4.  If you’re like me and you eat a lot, you might want to double this and make two pizzas.  I did.

If you want to make two pizzas just so you have leftovers, that’s also a great idea.

Who eats more, you or your partner? or what’s your favorite pizza topping?

 

 

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Slow Cooker Chicken Adobo

You know those days where you don’t feel like cooking and it’s too hot to turn on the oven to roast some chicken and vegetables?  This is your meal for those days.

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It’s super, SUPER easy and  tasty.  As a bonus, it’s pretty healthy too.  It might be a little bit high on salt but you’re not really drinking the sauce, just spoon a bit on your spaghetti squash (or rice #carbs4life) and you’re good to go.

I think I’ve only had traditional Filipino Chicken Adobo at a restaurant once.  I remember it being delicious and tangy.  As is true with most countries in South East Asia, the Philippines has awesome food and I’d love to visit.

In the meantime, make this dish for an easy weeknight meal while you daydream about being in a far off land.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Adobo

8 pieces of bone-in chicken (I used drum sticks)
3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 shallot, sliced
3 bay leaves

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker.  Cook on high 4-5 hours.

Serve with spaghetti squash and green beans (or serve on rice, because I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s normally served).

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If you’re wanting to make this paleo, you can probably substitute coconut aminos for the soy sauce and you’re good to go.

I had this for dinner and leftovers for lunch.  All sorts of goodness.

Totally unrelated to this recipe, I have a mini poll…

Would you be interested in seeing workouts on here?

Let me know in the comments (Yay! I love work outs! Bring ’em on! OR Umm no thanks, more cake, please).

 

 

 

Moroccan Spice Blend

As we’ve previously discussed, dinner is a struggle for me.  Waking up at 5:15am to workout, then going to work all day leaves me little motivation to make a meal when 5:30pm rolls around, especially if it’s just for me.  I’m one of those people that prefers to cook for others.  Cooking for myself is extremely unappealing.

When Jesse has dinner with me, it’s awesome.  I tend to make an actual meal, but most days, on my own, I tend to snack.  So I’m trying to come up with better solutions.  My number one solution right now is to keep it simple.

So in my quest to keep things simple, yet flavorful, I discovered a Moroccan Spice Blend that is so versatile you can basically kick up any plain dish without adding fat.  The best part is you can control how much salt goes in it.

moroccan spice blend

Moroccan Spice Blend

Adapted from Epicurious

1 tsp  cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt (or less if you’d like)*
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp  cinnamon
1/2 tsp  coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp mace

moroccan spice blend2

Combine all ingredients until well blended.  Store in an air tight container until ready to use.

*Feel free to adjust the amount of salt.  You can completely omit it, if you’re trying to go low sodium.  You can also add more if you like things salty (the original recipe calls for 1 tsp of salt, but I tried that and thought it was too much.  1/2 tsp was more to my liking).

I mixed up a bunch to keep on hand for easy meals.  So far using this blend I’ve made: Moroccan Spiced Chicken Thighs and Moroccan Spice Tilapia.

Super easy! In both cases, I sprinkled the chicken (bone-in thighs, skin and excess fat removed) or fish generously with the spice blend and baked.  Both times it turned out awesome! I can’t wait to keep making this. If you’re interested, I can do a full recipe post on either of these.  Let me know if you’re interested.

Tonight, the ultimate quick dinner for 1:  I took a piece of tilapia, covered it in moroccan spice blend, then roasted it along side some asparagus for 17 minutes at 400F.  Done in less than 20 minutes, and easy clean up.  I like it.

Give this Moroccan Spice Blend a try! It’s a great way to add a ton of flavor while still keeping things healthy.

What’s your favorite quick and easy weeknight meal?

Easy Roasted Chicken with Vegetables and Being Fearless

My friend Liz texted me this weekend with a quote from a book she’s reading: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

This couldn’t come at a better time, because I spent half the day having a mild panic attack. I made a very large purchase.  An investment is more what I like to call it.

It arrived around 11am, but I couldn’t bring myself to open it until about 7pm.

I bought a new camera.  You’re probably thinking… are you nuts? I’d be so excited.  I am!  But I’m also slightly scared out of my mind, because not only am I terrified of spending money but I bought this camera with a purpose.  To try something new and pursue something different.  I’m going to be vague and all sorts of mysterious until I get my act together.  But what it comes down to is that I need to be fearless, because I have no reason to be afraid.

I realize that to many people I might seem like a risk-taker.  I’m perfectly fine with traveling across the world on my own.  I’m not scared of getting lost or trying new things.  I love walking around foreign cities on my own.  But everything I do, I do because I know I’ll be good at it.

I know what I’m good at, and I hate being bad at things.  So sometimes I stay in the safe zone.

The best comparison I can draw is roasted chicken.  Like this roasted chicken dinner that I shot with my old Canon Rebel Xsi on my Canon 50mm f/1.8 Lens

Roasted Chicken

Roasted chicken is safe and simple.  We know it’ll taste good with minimal prep work required.  All you need is olive oil, salt, pepper, chicken, onion, tomato and summer squash, put it in the oven at 425F for 45-60 minutes.

The oven does the work for you.  It’s quick, easy and safe.  Roasted chicken is one of those things I know I make well.   Roasted Chicken2

But for now, I’m working on being fearless.  No more roasted chicken for a while. I’m lucky enough to be in a position to try new things and invest in things I want to accomplish.  I shouldn’t let fear get in the way, because fear only makes matters worse.

So I pose that question again to myself, and to you: what would you do if you weren’t afraid?

 

Caldo de Pollo (Guatemalan Chicken Stew)

If you asked me what my favorite food is, I would spend forever trying to decide and ask you a million follow up question… is it my favorite food to eat all the time? or for a special occasion? Savory or sweet? Appetizer? Main dish?

If you were my boyfriend you’d probably just say, “answer the question.”

To which I would respond “Caldo de Pollo, if we’re talking about what I like to eat on a normal day.”

I have a habit of not answering questions, or if I do, qualifying that response with a million follow up excuses as to why I can’t really answer the question.

I’m very indecisive.  So here it is.  If I had to choose a favorite food to eat all the time, it would be this: Caldo de Pollo.

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That just means chicken stew, but this is how my family (and I think most Guatemalan families) makes it.

The vegetables are all in big chunks and there’s a bit of chicken in there.

vegetables

It’s probably the easiest thing in the world to make.  It’s also delicious and healthy.  Whenever I go home, I want my mom to make two things: black beans and caldo de pollo.  It’s just delicious.

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Caldo de Pollo

1 lb chicken thighs, bone in (boneless is fine too)
1 bunch cilantro
1 tomato, whole
1 onion, ends cut off and peeled
1 chayote (güisquil), quartered
1 cabbage, cut into 6 wedges
3 carrots, peeled and cut in half
1-2 celery ribs
a few pieces of fresh or frozen corn*
2-3 small potatoes
1 small bag frozen yucca
salt
Avocado, Lime, Sour Cream (for serving)

Fill a medium saucepan half way with water, bring to a boil.  Add frozen yucca.

frozenyucca

Boil until tender, it should take about 30 minutes.  This is crucial.  If you put the yucca in the water before it boils, the yucca will stay tough.  Make sure your yucca is tender and keep it in the freezer until the water is boiling, then add it to the water.

While the yucca cooks, start the rest of the soup.  The beauty of this soup is that it’s fast and doesn’t involve a lot of chopping.

vegetablesinpot

Big chunks of carrot and güisquil (güisquil in Guatemala, but chayote in Mexico so that’s what you’ll probably see it labeled as in US grocery stores) are appreciated.  But the cabbage is my favorite part.  Not familiar with guisquil/chayote?  It looks sort of like a pear from the outside:

chayote

And sort of on the inside, just quarter it and cut out the seed in the middle

chayote2

In a large post, add all of the ingredients.  Add enough water to cover the ingredients.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 45 minutes or until cabbage and potatoes are cooked through.  The take a fine mesh strainer, take out the tomato, peppers and cilantro.  Pour some of the broth on it and using a spoon, mash the tomato, peppers and cilantro to get the most flavor out of it, then discard.  Add yucca you cooked separate to the pot.

caldodepollo2

Serve with lime, sour cream  and avocado.  I usually just eat it with lime and avocado, but sour cream makes it super tasty, just mix it into your bowl just before eating.

*I don’t like corn, so I never use it, but most people (including my mother) add it.

I like to pack mine up into 6-7 containers (that’s how many meals a big pot makes), and take them for lunch for the week.

Healthy and delicious lunch that is totally Paleo friendly if you omit the potato and yucca.  Even though yucca is a root, I think it’s too starchy for Paleo.

But seriously, what makes this delicious is the lime and avocado.

avocadolime

It takes a regular soup and makes it out of this world.  Don’t skimp on that!

So what’s your favorite food?  Something you could eat everyday and not get tired of.

30 Day Paleo Challenge: Days 3 & 4… Epic Paleo Dinner

Cauliflower is totally having a moment.

I’m obsessed.  A few years ago, Kale was all the rage.  Now it seems like Cauliflower is all over the world (and by the world I clearly mean the big world of food blogs and Pinterest).  Since I’ve been eating the same things for breakfast and lunch that past few days (Day 1 and Day 2), I decided I needed to make something awesome for dinner and cauliflower would be included, because all the cool kids are doing it.

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Jesse and I have dinner together pretty much every Wednesday night, so this seemed like a good opportunity to show off my paleo cooking skills.

Chicken and Sage Mushrooms over Cauliflower Puree

inspired sorta by Real Simple

1 head of Cauliflower, chopped
2 slices of bacon
3-4 boneless skinless chicken thighs*
10 oz sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
1 tbsp fresh chopped sage
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder

Put cauliflower in a pot with some water to boil.  Boil about 20 minutes or until tender.

In the meantime, in a skillet, cook 2 pieces of bacon.  Remove from pan and allow to cool once cripsy, chop then set aside.  Season chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.  In the same skillet, cook the chicken until done (about 5-6 mins per side).

Remove chicken from pan and turn off heat.  Reserve that pan to cook the mushrooms in, but make the cauliflower puree.  Drain the cauliflower and put in the food processor with salt and garlic powder.  How much?  It depends on your palette.  I use a good amount of both (maybe 1/2 tsp? start there then taste it add more if necessary). Puree until smooth.

Next make the mushrooms, turn the heat back on to medium and throw the mushrooms in the pan.  Cook about 5 minutes or until almost cooked through.  Add sage, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for another minute or two.  Add in bacon, toss and turn off heat.

Next assemble the dish.  Lay some cauliflower puree on a plate, top with a piece of chicken, some mushrooms, then sprinkle with parsley and serve!  This will serve 2-3 people, depending how hungry they are

*I fit more pieces of chicken in the pan and made about 6 so that I had leftovers.  You can do the same.  This will make meals a lot easier for the rest of the week!  But if you want to make this for 2, you can also just make 2 pieces of chicken and it all works out fine 🙂

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I fed this to Jesse and his first question was: “This is Paleo?”

Yes.  It is.  And super tasty too.  I felt totally gluttonous while eating this!

Paleo Challenge Update:

Day 3:

Day 3 was the hardest so far, but even then, it wasn’t so bad.  I was just hungry and munchy (maybe a little stressed?).  Luckily, I’ve been overpacking when it comes to food at work.  I also took a bag of almonds to stash at my desk.  I’m glad I had them yesterday, because it was Bagel Wednesday at work…

I ate my lunch with a stack of bagels in the background.

I stayed strong though! No bagels!

Day 4:

Better than Day 3.   Breakfast and lunch were the same as above.

For dinner, I came home and had leftover cauliflower puree with some mushrooms, the remains of a week-old rotisserie chicken (I really hate throwing food away!), a banana with almond butter and some mango chunks to kill my craving for cake.

Now I need another epic dinner idea for tomorrow!  Any suggestions?