One-Pan Mexican Chicken Quinoa


The Christmas season is officially upon us!  Despite my efforts to slow down and savor the holidays, I feel like the time between Thanksgiving and New Year flies twice as fast.  But that doesn't stop me from continuing to cook nutritious meals for my family.  Here, to the rescue, is another one-pan dish.

This quinoa bowl is extremely versatile.  You can prepare it with a different meat as well as vary the vegetables and seasonings.  Even if you don’t have all the listed ingredients on hand or decide to omit something because it’s not a favorite, you will still end up with a delicious meal that won’t take very long to prepare.

2 Tbsp. butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1.5 – 2 lbs. chicken thighs or breast (boneless, skinless)
1 cup uncooked quinoa (soaked in 2 cups of water for about 2 hours, drained)
1 cup water or chicken broth
1 can canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup organic corn kernels, frozen or canned
1 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
1 medium onion, chopped
½ tsp cumin
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes

Melt the butter in a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
Sauté the garlic and jalapeno in the butter until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the chicken and cook through for about 15 minutes, browning on both sides.
Stir in the quinoa, water or broth, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and onion.  
Season with cumin, salt, and pepper.
Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. 
Stir in the lemon or lime juice.
Before serving, garnish with your favorite salsa, fresh cilantro and avocado.

Enjoy and spend more time with the ones you love this holiday season!

Persian Green Bean Stew

I have an adventurous palate and enjoy trying exotic new foods.  I have especially taken a strong liking to middle-eastern cuisine.  Years ago, while attending college, I worked for a surgeon from Iran.  We became good friends and I was honored to attending his house parties, where his wife would serve the most amazing dishes, always seasoned with an array of herbs and spices.  She often shared her recipes with me, and this is one of my favorites that I still make on a regular basis for my family.  

2 onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. coconut oil or butter
1 lb. stewing meat, veal, lamb or beef, cubed
1 tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 lb. fresh or frozen green beans
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. tomato paste or 5 medium tomatoes, peeled and sliced

Sautee onions and garlic in coconut oil in a cast iron pot or Dutch oven until translucent.  Add meat and brown.  Add salt, pepper, cinnamon, turmeric and nutmeg.  Pour in 2 ½ cups water.  Cover and cook for about 45 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.
Remove strings and cut green beans into 1-inch pieces.  As an option, you can pre-cook the green beans by sautéing them in a skillet in coconut oil while the meat stews.
When the meat is done, add the green beans, lemon juice, tomato paste and/or tomatoes.  Cover and simmer 45 minutes more over low heat.  
Taste and correct seasoning.  Serve hot.  

Braised Cabbage with Beef

The weekend is here and so is another one-dish meal!  Ukrainians are big on braised cabbage and there are many different ways of making it.  This is my version. It is inexpensive and easy to make, but it does not skimp on flavor! Braised cabbage is also gluten-free and paleo-friendly.

In case you are interested in knowing, cabbage belongs to the “Brassica” family which also includes Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale and broccoli.  According to Dr. Mercola, this inexpensive and humble vegetable has the highest amount of some of the most powerful antioxidants found in cruciferous vegetables.  Research has shown these compounds to protect against several types of cancer and lower LDL (the “bad cholesterol”) levels in the blood.  Cabbage is rich in vitamins C and K, as well as an excellent source of fiber, vitamin B6, folate, and manganese.  It also contains iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium.  The sulfur in cabbage is essential for the production of keratin, a protein substance necessary for healthy hair, skin and nails.

1 small cabbage head, shredded
1 lb. grass-fed, organic ground beef
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 – 2 Tbsp. organic ketchup
4 Tbsp. sauerkraut
3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro or green onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cumin
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Brown the ground beef, until completed cooked though.  Remove and set aside, leaving behind as much of the rendered fat in the skillet as possible.

Add onions and garlic to the same skillet and sauté until translucent. Next add the cabbage and cook until it shrinks and settles.  You may need to do this in multiple steps if all of the cabbage does not fit at once.  Add back the ground beef and season with ketchup, curry, cumin, sea salt, pepper and bay leaf.  Mix well, add 2 - 3 tablespoons of water or broth, cover and cook for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cabbage is soft.  

Remove from heat.  Stir in the sauerkraut and adjust seasonings to taste.  Remove the bay leaf and sprinkle with cilantro or green onion before serving

Brazilian Fish Stew


As a busy mom, I am always looking for one-dish meal ideas.  This is a great paleo/gluten-free dish I found on Pinterest.  The original recipe is from The Gaia Health Blog.  It is simple to make and full of exotic flavor.  My current favorites – cilantro and lime juice – really make the dish come alive!

1 – 2 lb. fish fillet of choice
2 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 - 3 tsp garlic, minced
2 - 3 tsp ginger, diced
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, diced
½ cup broth or water
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Juice of one lime

In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and ginger; sauté until translucent. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper and broth.  Cook until vegetables are tender.  Place fish over the vegetables, season with sea salt and pepper, and let cook through. Before serving sprinkle with green onion, cilantro and drizzle with lime juice.