Chicken Sausage Kebabs + Roasted Cauliflower

My Daughter and I- Chicken Sausage Kebabs + Roasted Cauliflower

So I mentioned awhile back that we were eating a bit differently lately. While I feel like I’m mostly healthy eater, I enjoy pizza, pasta and bread often! And don’t even get me started on beer!

The gym where Jordan and I work out offers these weight loss challenges on a regular basis and even though I’ve worked out there for almost three years, I’ve never taken part in one – until now. However, I didn’t do it to lose a bunch of weight. I did it to see if I could actually do it, and also to try something new with my eating. I went through a difficult period of time where I was bedridden due to chronic pain issues. After months on pain meds and more tests and doctor appointments then I care to recall, I was still in pain and my liver was damaged due to the meds. After months of pain, tests and meds; one doctor suggested that I might have an autoimmune disease. By then I was so over doctors and I decided to do something different. I started moving more – moving even though I was in agony, and you know what? It worked! I’m off all meds and feeling really well. I remember about four years ago going to my first stand up paddle board class and crying because I was able to do it. It was such a turning point for me. I started walking slowly around our house, and then eventually adding more distance and speed and after almost a year of that I got up the nerve to join a boot camp for one month on a Groupon. I was weak and so afraid to get hurt, but I kept going. It’s been the best thing for me. I love it and I feel like it has made such a huge difference in my overall health.

Over the past several months I have really increased my training. I still go to boot camp four mornings a week but I started incorporating yoga once or twice a week along with some serious hikes. Jordan and I are heading out on the JMT in July and I needed to get trail ready. We did a portion of the JMT last summer, but our goal this year is to do the whole thing. So I needed to get myself ready. One of the ways I am doing it it is by eating as healthy as I possibly can – fueling my body well for all the hard workouts. We cut all processed sugar, flour, grains, pasta, beans etc. I was a little worried if I’d be able to do it, but it was easier than I thought and the results have been amazing. I feel so much better. I don’t have the stomach aches that I had before, my energy level is higher and I’m drinking less coffee. My pain levels are much lower too. The six week challenge ends this week, but I plan to keep up a lot of the dietary changes. I will still eat pasta, bread and pizza – but just not as often as I did before the challenge.

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So with all of that said – here is a recipe I made the other day to go along with our new way of eating. We roast a lot of veggies, eat a lot of salads and grill fish and chicken. But I got it in my brain that I wanted to make kebabs but with sausage pieces. I found some amazing and delicious chicken sausages at Costco that were organic, gluten free and nitrite free. They were flavored with spinach and red peppers and were delicious.

Chicken Sausage Kebabs
1 bell pepper (any color), cut into 1″ pieces
1 red onion, cut into large pieces
1 package sausage of your choice

Thread the chicken, peppers, and onions onto water soaked wooden skewers. Spray lightly with olive oil or coconut oil spray and grill until everything is heated and has a bit of grill marks on it.

You can add any veggies you like such as squash, mushrooms etc. Because the sausage is precooked, this meal just takes minutes to heat on the grill.

Roasted Cauliflower

You can make this recipe with almost any veggie – it is definitely a favorite around here. I have made a yummy combination of cauliflower and broccoli before and we also follow this basic recipe when roasting asparagus, Brussels sprouts and even butternut squash.

I started the cauliflower first and got it roasting so everything would be ready at the same time.

1 head cauliflower, cut into chunks.
Minced garlic
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Creole seasoning
Parmesan cheese

Preheat over to 425* and put the oven rack on the upper third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with foil. Put washed, cut veggies on tray. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle on the garlic, seasonings of your choice, grated Parmesan cheese. Toss to cover and stick into a preheated oven. Stir veggies after about 10 minutes and keep checking on them. You want them to brown up a bit – but don’t over cook them. I usually cook mine for about 20 minutes.

 

Cindy

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Fall Favorites – Soups, Salads and Main Dishes

Hey! Happy Fall! In Southern California, Fall doesn’t really exist. This time of year the weather is crazy hot, so while everyone else is talking about the beautiful leaves changing and the cooler weather, we are just broiling! So, honestly, Fall isn’t really my favorite season, but I do love Fall food. So I’ve compiled a list of a few of our Fall favorites to share with you. Enjoy!

Kale Salad with Man Candy

kale salad with roasted bruschetta 2 - My Daughter and I

Candied Pecans + The Best Salad Ever

candied pecan and salad collage

Fiesta Chowder

Fiesta Chowder 2 - My Daughter and I

Tuscan Bean Soup

tuscan bean soup 1 edited

 

Parmesan Pasta with Butternut Squash & Bacon

butternut squash with bacon pasta 2 edited with text

 

Chicken Pot Pie

chicken pot pie 17 edited

Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese

mac & cheese 2

Southern Chicken Casserole

southern chicken casserole 2

Bruschetta Chicken

BC 8

 

(Looking through these old photos made me realize the huge improvement in the quality of my photos- just look at the difference between this Bruschetta Chicken photo and the infinitely better picture of the Kale Salad at the very beginning of the post. It’s amazing the difference that a little experience makes 🙂  -Jordan)

 

Cindy

Chicken Fried Rice

My Daughter and I- Chicken Fried Rice

Hey, Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Our’s was HOT! When it’s hot like this, I really don’t want to cook, but I still have to feed my family. This delicious and easy chicken fried rice recipe is great for days like that. I found it on Gimme Some Oven, one of my favorite blogs.  The recipes are always great and the pictures are amazing.

I whipped up the fried rice and served it with a green salad and some frozen egg rolls that I heated up in the toaster oven (always trying to keep the house cool!). Also, I cooked the rice in the rice steamer and cooked the chicken ahead of time in the same pan as the fried rice, so it was a very simple clean-up.

My Daughter and I- Chicken Fried Rice 2

Chicken Fried Rice

3 T sesame oil
2 eggs
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen peas, allow to defrost for a bit while prepping other ingredients
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
4 cups cooked rice
3-4 Tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
2-3 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 Tablespoons sriracha, or more/less to taste
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Pour sesame oil into large skillet or wok and turn stove to medium heat. Add carrots, peppers and garlic, and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 -7 minutes until the veggies are soft. Add the green onions and peas and stir to combine and heat. Increase the heat a bit and add the rice, soy sauce and stir until combined. Continue stirring for an additional 3 -5 minutes to fry the rice. Then add in the chicken and stir to combine. Once all the ingredients are combined and heated through, push the rice back on the pan, opening up a small section on the pan in order to scramble the egg. When you have a small section open, just crack the eggs and mix well, once it’s mostly scrambled, you can start mixing it in with the rest of the rice and mix until combined and cooked. Add the sriracha if you like a bit of heat and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds if you like and serve warm.

Cindy

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

My Daughter and I- Chicken Enchilada Casserole 1

I made this the other night and everyone loved it. I haven’t been making as many casseroles lately, so this was a nice change. The enchiladas weren’t overly saucy or cheesy but they had great flavor. We served ours with homemade salsa and black bean and corn relish. We also had some delicious semi-homemade refried beans- recipe listed below.

My Daughter and I- Chicken Enchilada Casserole 2

Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Ingredients:

3 cups red enchilada sauce

16 corn tortillas, halved

2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

8 green onions, thinly sliced

4 cups (about 1.5 pounds) shredded cooked chicken

3 cups shredded Monterrey Jack or Mexican blend cheese

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

1/2 cup loosely-packed chopped fresh cilantro

 

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Pour about 3/4 cup enchilada sauce in the baking dish, and spread until the bottom of the dish is coated. Top with a layer of about 8 tortilla halves so that the entire dish is covered. Sprinkle evenly with about 1 cup black beans, 1/2 cup corn and a fourth of the green onions. Then sprinkle with a heaping cup of the chicken, and about 3/4 cup shredded cheese.

Repeat with a second layer of tortillas, then sauce, then beans, corn, green onions, chicken, and cheese. Then a final layer of tortillas, sauce, beans, corn, green onions, chicken and cheese. Then conclude with a final layer of tortillas and sauce (reserving about 3/4 cup of cheese to add partway through baking).

Cover the pan with aluminum foil, then bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan and remove aluminum foil. Sprinkle the top of the enchiladas evenly with the remaining 3/4 cup of cheese, then return to the oven (uncovered) and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Remove pan, and sprinkle with avocado, cilantro, and remaining green onions. Serve warm.

Semi-Homemade Refried Beans
Ingredients:

2 T. Olive oil

1 T garlic, minced

1/4 onion, finely chopped

2 -3 T jalapeño, finely chopped, or more to taste

1/2 tsp cumin, or more to taste

3 corn tortillas, torn or cut into small pieces

2 –  30 ounce cans of whole pinto beans, 1 drained, 1 not drained. Save the liquid from the drained can to be sure you don’t need it.

 

In large sauce pan add olive oil, garlic, onion and jalapeño and cook until onions start to turn translucent. Add in the corn tortilla pieces and mix well. Cook for a few minutes, and if all the oil is absorbed, add a bit of the bean liquid and keep cooking- you want the tortillas to soften up a bit. Pour in the 1 undrained can of beans and the 1 drained can of beans and mix well. I use my potato masher and mix and mash. Continue cooking, mixing and smashing. Add in the cumin and mix some more. Let simmer so the corn tortillas soften up. Continue cooking until beans reach the desired consistency. You may need to add a bit more of the bean liquid depending on how you like your beans. I turned beans off after 15 or so minutes and then turned them back on just before serving. I didn’t need to add any additional salt, but be sure and taste yours. Serve with the delicious chicken enchilada recipe.

 

Cindy

Pesto Pasta Salad with Arugula

My Daughter and I Pesto Pasta Salad with Arugula 1

I made this recipe yesterday and it really took only about 15 minutes from start to finish. Crazy fast and delicious! If you aren’t a big fan of arugula, you could substitute baby kale, or spinach, or even chopped romaine lettuce. I loved the addition of the greens to the pasta- it made a giant bowl and I felt like it was much healthier than just eating pasta. This would be a great salad to bring to a BBQ or beach party.

I found this recipe on Gimme Some Oven. I love Ali’s blog and all the recipes I have tried have been amazing. Check it out!

My Daughter and I Pesto Pasta Salad with Arugula 2

Pesto Pasta Salad with Arugula

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
1 pound (dry) pasta
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and roughly chopped
1 (6-ounce) jar basil pesto (about 3/4 cup)
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced
3 handfuls fresh arugula, 4 ounce package

Method:
Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water al dente, according to package instructions. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water for about 20-30 seconds until no longer hot.

In a large serving bowl, toss pasta with the remaining ingredients until combined. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Cindy