Tag Archives: dinner

Paleo/Whole30 dinner: Herb-crusted salmon and pumpkin soup

paleo dinner: herbed salmon + pumpkin soup
paleo dinner: herbed salmon + pumpkin soup
I try to serve salmon at least once a week — gotta get those omega-3’s! I love that it cooks quickly, and there are so many ways to top it, encrust it, or otherwise embellish it. I’ve found, though, that it’s not as satisfying as red meat. We usually find ourselves hungry a couple hours later.
When I started making bone broth several month ago, I found that it is super satisfying. My theory is that it sticks with you because it’s providing a lot of minerals, gelatin, and other good, healing things your body is craving. So my strategy now is to always serve a bone broth-based soup on the nights I serve salmon.
A few nights ago, I made my herb-crusted salmon along with cream of pumpkin soup, using homemade chicken bone broth. My husband said, “I like this soup. It’s comforting, kinda like coffee.” (He is sorely missing his coffee with cream and sugar in the morning!)
Cream of pumpkin soup is easy to make Whole30 compliant by making it dairy-free: just swap out the cream for full-fat coconut milk. This recipe from AllRecipes is the one I use (minus the croutons): Cream of Pumpkin Soup.
This dinner is easy enough for a weeknight (especially if you make the pumpkin soup the night before, up until adding the cream), but special enough for a Fall or Winter dinner party, I think.
This pairing will go in our regular Whole30 rotation! I’m working toward publishing a four-week meal plan. Hopefully coming soon!

 

Eating Paleo/Whole30 at The Monarch (Wichita KS)

eating paleo/whole30 at The Monarch in Wichita KS
eating paleo/whole30 at The Monarch in Wichita KS
Eating Paleo/Whole30 when eating out can be a challenge; here’s help when eating at The Monarch in Wichita KS.
The Monarch is a favorite local Wichita KS restaurant and bar. It features cool decor, with lighting fixtures made from salvaged wood and upcycled bicycle parts, and the walls boast a mix of flea-market finds and unique art from local artists. It’s a convenient location if you’re downtown, in the Delano area, or trying to bring east-siders and west-siders together in a central location. I’ve ordered salads a couple times and been underwhelmed, but other than that, everything I’ve ordered there has tasted great. I believe they smoke their own meats, or buy from local suppliers, so these menu items may be less processed than something you’d get at a chain like Chili’s, for example.Based on just looking over the menu and making some guesses (with the exception of salad dressing, explained below), here are some dishes you could order at The Monarch and be mostly Whole30 compliant. I haven’t verified what oils things are cooked in, and as I’ve noted below, there may be hidden sugars.
Mushroom caps without the cheese.*
Potato skins with smoked chicken, without the cheese.
Any of their meat soups,* probably, except for ones with noodles, pasta, corn chips, cream or cheese.
These sandwiches without the cheese and the roll, eaten knife-and-fork: Cuban, Chicken Caprese, Brisket Royale,* Monarch,* Reuben, Italian Sausage*, and Grilled Hot Link*. (Is it still worth eating? That’s your call!)
Sadly, there are no sides that are okay. Cole slaw would certainly have sugar. A side salad would only work without dressing. Read on…
I called to make sure, and all of the salad dressings have either sugar or dairy in them. (Ranch and blue cheese being the sugar-free ones.) If you’re bold enough to bring and discreetly use your own salad dressing, you could order the Smoked Chef without croutons, or the Greek salad — both without dressing.
*There’s probably some sugar in all of the red meats: Brisket, corned beef, ham, hot links, and sausage — in the brine, the seasonings, or both. It’s less likely in the chicken, but still very possible. You’ll need to make the choice whether you think the amount is neglible, as far as eating out goes.
Update: I visited The Monarch a couple days ago and had their sandwich called “The Monarch” without bread and cheese. It was quite tasty! I had the sweet potato tater tots for the side, and while they were very yummy and a perfect complement to the main dish, I’m pretty sure they had sugar in them. Also, I asked about what oil they were fried in: soybean. ¬†ūüôĀ ¬†This could be a totally Whole30 dish if they’d just make sweet potato fries or hash browns, fried in coconut oil. So close! And probably okay for a general Paleo mini-splurge.
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The Monarch on Urbanspoon

12 Easy Glaze Recipes for Roasted Chicken

rotisserie chicken w honey lime glaze
One of the easiest meals possible is to get a plain store-roasted chicken, then add your own simple sauces or glazes. Of course, you can start with a chicken you’ve roasted yourself, too.

Why not just buy a pre-glazed one? Making your own glaze ensures that there’s no corn syrup – high-fructose or otherwise – in the glaze, or other unwanted ingredients, be they soy, gluten, white sugar, high sodium, or MSG.

Most of these have a high level of sugar, usually in the form of honey or maple syrup. So to keep them from burning, you’ll want to add the glaze right before serving or give it just a few minutes in the oven. If you’re on a sugar-restricted diet, you can cut back the sugar part of the equation.

One suggestion: since a lot of these are sticky, you may want to cut the chicken up into serving pieces before glazing. But that’s optional.

Here are a few simple recipes that you can whip up quickly and easily — or make the night before and have ready to go right when you get home! Many of them have just three ingredients.

Honey sriracha lime glaze — Shown in the photo above, this is one I’ve made again and again. You can use on any chicken pieces. Experiment to find the right level of heat/sriracha for you. I use a quarter of the sriracha called for, and an extra dollop of honey.

Chutney-glazed chicken¬†— Chutney, lime juice, and curry powder.

Maple black pepper glaze¬†— Maple syrup, butter, and black pepper. Pretty simple!

Honey-spiced glaze¬†— Honey, olive oil, cinnamon, and paprika. Rated 5 stars.

photo by Taste of Home

A fruit-and-wine glaze from Taste of Home — White wine or chicken broth, apricot preserves or quince jelly, and a bit of mustard. Rated 4 stars.

Orange-rosemary glazed chicken¬†— Orange marmalade, rosemary, and your choice of vinegar.

Honey-lemon-soy glaze — The ingredients are — surprise! — honey, lemon juice, and soy.

photo by Eating Well

Pomegranate glaze — Uses pomegranate molasses (with instructions to make your own, if you wish), honey and black pepper.

Barbeque, honey and soy — Another easy, 4-star recipe, from Taste of Home.

Red-hot honey glaze — A buffalo chicken style sauce from Bobby Flay. Includes a recipe for a blue cheese dipping sauce.

Korean barbecue sauce — This is one you might want to make ahead; it has several ingredients, and benefits from some time simmering. I’ve made this; if you cook it low and slow long enough, you can skip the corn syrup and water part. But don’t cook it too high; it burns easily. (Voice of experience!)

Honey-mustard glaze — You could skip the curry if you don’t like curry or don’t have any.

Keeping a rotisserie chicken SAFELY warm for a few hours

how-to-keep-a-rotisserie-chicken-warm-500x440

I was looking this info up for myself; thought it was worth posting here.

What to do when you’ve bought a whole roasted chicken, still warm, but dinner doesn’t start for an hour or more? Even putting it in a low oven is going to dry it out — and they usually don’t start out all that great. Putting it in the fridge requires more oven time to warm it back up, which will also dry it out. But is it safe to leave them out?

Here’s what I found on a forum thread:

Original question: Dinner is about 1.5 hours away. The chicken was warm when I purchased it.

Normally, I buy earlier in the day and just stick it in the fridge. This time, though, it seems that it would be better to try to keep it warm. I keep picturing it lingering too long in the “bacteria growth” temp zone considering it won’t be in the fridge very long before I pull it out to start reheating.

Is my thinking off? If it’s okay to keep it warm, what’s the best temp for the oven?

Answer 1: I just leave mine on the counter until dinnertime. Then I cut it into quarters, stick it on a cookie sheet and reheat in the oven at 350 F. I’ve been doing this for years and we’re all still kicking.

Answer 2: It will be fine. It needs to sit out for a minimum of 2+ hours before you have to worry about getting sick.

Answer 3: Actually, you have 4 hours in the “temperature danger zone” from 40¬į to 140¬įF. If your store keeps the chicken at or above 140¬į, you have 4 hours after it is removed from the heater before it is considered unsafe. These are the numbers I was taught at culinary school and have followed without issue since.

Reply from original poster: Thank you all very much! Dinner was delicious! 

And a professional chef on another forum says:

Remember that the temperature danger zone is 40 to 140 F. When you buy a rotisserie chicken, it is being held at a higher temperature than that and they package them as such that they try to keep them warm for a decent amount of time. Then after that, once it drops to 140, it takes time for all those little buggies to grow, get married, and reproduce. The government states [the safe zone is] 4 hours to pass through the temperature danger zone. Add that to the 45-1 hour that it will take the bird to drop to 140, if left in packaging and considering the ambient room temp., and you have a considerable time before it becomes a microbe bomb. Of course, I probably wouldn’t try to stretch it that long but 1-2 hours, following government safety standards, should be more than safe.

So, I tried it. I kept two rotisserie chickens in a tote bag on the counter, with a folded dishtowel below (to prevent heatsink from my granite countertop; if you have wood or laminate counters, no need for this). I also took one of those big flat insulated foil-looking bags and folded it over the top of the closed chicken packages, then clothes-pinned the top of the tote bag shut. It sat for about an hour and a half before dinner.

Result? The temperature was a bit on the lukewarm side. It would have been better with a bit of oven time, I think. Although the breast was dry, and oven time would have made this worse. Maybe oven time sealed up with some extra chicken broth.
As for intestinal problems, that was three days ago, and we’re all good here!

Reheating rotisserie chicken

I later found this info on a forum comment on Chowhound:

Buy a Costco rotisserie chicken, the paler the better. Chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a rectangular baking pan place sliced carrots, whole garlic cloves (still in their “sleeves”), and very thinly sliced potatoes; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper: put in the oven for 10 minutes.

Place COLD chicken atop vegetables and drizzle the chicken drippings from the bottom of the container over the chicken and vegetables; place in oven and cook until the chicken is crisp on the outside, about 25 minutes.

The chicken will be crisp on the outside and moist inside. The garlic will be roasted and is delicious spread onto bread slices. The vegetables will have been infused with the chicken drippings.

I tried this method, with a few changes. I cut the chicken up into two whole-leg sections (thigh and drumstick still attached), and the breast as one whole section. (I discarded the wings because they were overcooked, and put the rest of bones in the freezer for future chicken stock.) I put the legs and breast over sliced carrots (didn’t have the other items on hand). Because it was in smaller pieces, it didn’t need nearly as much time. The skin crisped up nicely and the dark meat was pretty good, but the breast was dry.

I think it’s probably impossible to get moist breast meat from a rotisserie chicken unless you eat it fresh out of the oven at the store. But you can still use this meat for recipes that bring some moisture to the party: chicken enchiladas or mayo-based chicken salad (have you tried my orange-cranberry chicken salad?), for example.

photo credit: terren in Virginia via photopin cc

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Quick, easy buffalo chicken quesadillas with avocado

buffalo-chicken-quesadillas_large
image and recipe inspiration from halfhourmeals.com

This is one of my go-to recipes when I realize too late in the day that I haven’t planned dinner. (AND it’s one my husband calls restaurant-worthy!) I love it because it’s a few simple things you can throw together and have dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less. Also, there’s very little measuring involved.

I pick up some grilled chicken from the grocery store deli, grab an avocado and some appropriate cheese if I don’t already have some at home. Tortillas and hot sauce are usually in my fridge. Butter: always!

For the chicken, you can use any already-cooked chicken you have on hand or can easily obtain. Grilled, roasted, whatever! Tear it apart with your hands; this lets you find and dispose of any parts that are overdone and chewy. It also creates a nice, uneven surface for the sauce to cling to. Or you can use already shredded chicken, if that’s what you have on hand.

Quick easy buffalo chicken quesadillas

two small chicken breasts and one thigh, already cooked
1 T. butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
3-4 T. hot sauce (I like Cholula Chipotle)
1/2 avocado
4 flour tortillas, fajita size (6 to 7″)
4-5 oz. queso fresco or Monterrey Jack, shredded

Put the 1 T. butter and the hot sauce in a small skillet over medium-low heat. While it melts, tear the chicken apart and slice the half avocado thinly. Once the butter is melted, stir it around to mix in the hot sauce, then add the chicken to the pan and toss lightly to coat. If you still need to finish your prep, turn the heat under the chicken mixture a little lower.

Put a large skillet on another burner, and turn the heat to just-under-medium. Let this heat up while you assemble the quesadilla.

Lay one tortilla on a cutting board or edgeless cookie sheet. Sprinkle about one fourth of the cheese on it; top with half of the avocado slices (1/4 of the avocado), then scatter half of the chicken on top of that. Sprinkle over this another fourth of the cheese, and top with a second tortilla. Press it down lightly, and if any chicken bits fall out, tuck them back in.

Lightly coat the large skillet with butter — just enough for the size tortilla you’re using. Carefully slide the quesadilla onto the hot skillet, and cook for a few minutes, till the color on the underside is GBD. (Golden brown and delicious!) Turn it over and heat the second side likewise.

Remove to a cutting board, and repeat the process for the other half of the ingredients.

When both quesadillas are done, slice them into sixths. (A rolling pizza cutter works nicely.) Serve with sour cream (and/or plain yogurt) and salsa on the side.

Serves 3 to 4.

Here are the nutrition facts, based on 3 servings per recipe, via myfitnesspal.com:

Nutrition Facts
Servings 3.0
Amount Per Serving
Calories 455
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 23 g 35 %
Saturated Fat 11 g 56 %
Monounsaturated Fat 4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 89 mg 30 %
Sodium 871 mg 36 %
Potassium 294 mg 8 %
Total Carbohydrate 27 g 9 %
Dietary Fiber 19 g 75 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 36 g 71 %

Based on this recipe from HalfHourMeals.

Places to eat in Kansas City: Beer Kitchen

beer-kitchen-exterior
The Beer Kitchen in Westport, Kansas City MO

The Beer Kitchen in Westport is another of our favorite spots in KC. In the past, we’ve enjoyed their lunch/dinner menu, including various salads, burgers, Mac & Cheese or Fish & Chips.

This time, we were visiting a little earlier in the day and looking for brunch.

Both the hubs and I are big fans of a classic Eggs Benedict, so we’re always on the search for good ones. We still miss the EB at Reverse Grill and Jack Gage, which are both now closed. ¬†ūüôĀ

But luckily, Beer Kitchen also has a brunch menu on the weekend, so my husband tried it. It comes with a side of “brunch potatoes” – chunky cubes of potatoes, crispy-brown on the exterior. The verdict: good hollandaise, potatoes nicely done, but the poached eggs were a little under done, with the whites being just a tad runny. But he wasn’t in a complaining mood, so he didn’t send them back.

I ordered a “Turkey Turkey” sandwich:¬†smoked turkey, turkey bacon, avocado, tomato, chipotle cheddar and chipotle aioli on grilled sourdough. Being the spice wimp I am, I was concerned about the chipotle component of this sandwich, but the waitress assured me it wasn’t spicy at all, so I ordered it as is. I should know better! It was just a little too spicy for me, but again, not bad enough to not finish.

Other than the spice factor (which wouldn’t be an issue for most people), the sandwich was delish. I especially liked the toasted sour dough: it was the absolutely perfect balance of crunchy outside and just-chewy-enough inside. Unfortunately, it didn’t photograph well, so no pic.

Even with these two small complaints, I would recommend Beer Kitchen without reservations. This was probably our fourth or fifth visit, and they have been consistently good.

They are open seven days a week: open at 11 am on weekdays and 9 am on the weekends. They close anywhere from midnight to 3 a.m.; check their website for details.

Beer Kitchen website

On Urbanspoon:
Beer Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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Places to eat in KC: El Patron

San Diego: lunch and dinner

sd-lucha-libre-interior

Okay, I’ve already talked breakfast in San Diego; here are a couple of taco joints, and a couple places for dinner. Most of them were too dark to take photos in, so I’m stuck with images from Google Streetview. The gorgeous sunset above is not,¬†unfortunately, the view from any of these restaurants. Just a lovely moment from our trip.

South Beach Bar & Grill 
Eric found this spot on Urbanspoon; we would have never happened on it otherwise. It’s a nondescript bar in the Ocean Beach area. (How’s that for a redundant name? I mean, what other kind of beach is there?) And with a 95% rating on Urbanspoon, expectations were high. We love fish tacos, this seems like the town for it, and reviewers raved about ’em here.

They offer a Mini Taco Platter appetizer that includes one four-bite taco for each of: mahi-mahi, wahoo, shrimp, calamari, and baha (pollack) tacos. We ordered that, and Eric followed it up with an additional lobster taco.

I thought the amount of food was a good deal for the price, and yeah, they tasted good, but they were all smothered — I mean completely covered and piled high — with your basic pico de gallo, and finished with a drizzle of… Ranch dressing? Okay, so it’s a bar, it’s not a five-star restaurant, but when people describe it as “the best fish tacos on the planet,” I would expect: A) a sauce or salsa suited for each type of fish, and B) to be able to¬†see¬†the fish, as well as taste it. We could do neither.

It’s tasty, it’s cheap, but it’s also loud. I said, IT’S ALSO LOUD! If I’m going to a bar for cheap tacos, this one would do fine. But if I’m looking for the best fish tacos on the planet, I’ll keep on looking.

Located at: 5059 Newport, just off Ocean Beach
Open for: Lunch and Dinner
South Beach Bar & Grill website
On Urbanspoon:
South Beach Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop 
This one was recommended by a local. And we had been forewarned, “It’s a dive.” So we were a little more prepared.

If you like funky and offbeat, this is your place! The not-so-subtle theme is¬†lucha libre, which is Mexican freestyle wrestling. (Think Jack Black in “Nacho Libre.”) Hot pink walls, disco balls on the ceiling, and lucha libre-inspired art in garish gold frames announce that this is not your typical sombrero-sporting joint. (Here’s¬†another reviewer who has lots of pictures.)

We were just looking for a smallish lunch, so we split an “Undefeated Seafood Taco” between the two of us. And a small guacamole. And an order of fries. Getting less smallish by the minute. The lunch, and us.

The taco was good, but honestly, I can’t give you too many details, because I wolfed my half down so fast I forgot to take even mental notes about the ingredients or taste! I do remember that I liked it, and that it was in a corn tortilla. (I prefer wheat, but I know that corn is more traditional/authentic.)

And the small guacamole? Emphasis on the word “small.” Here it is, next to a normal-sized chip. And nothing remarkable about the taste. But that’s not what you come here for.

There was also a salsa bar, featuring seven or eight different fruit- and/or tomato-based salsas. I didn’t try any of them, because as I’ve already mentioned, I ate in a bit of a hurry!

And being a¬†Vampire Weekend¬†fan (no, it has nothing to do with Twilight), I jumped at the chance to try¬†horchata, which the taco shop had on tap, alongside common American sodas. What is horchata? It’s carbonated, it looks like you mixed milk and soda water, and tastes like cinnamon-sugar. A weird experience. But hey, now I can sing, “I remember drinking horchata,” and mean it!

Located at: 1810 W Washington St. in the Mission Hills area
Open for:  Lunch and dinner
Lucha Libre website
On Urbanspoon:
Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop on Urbanspoon

El Callejon 
This was my first visit to San Diego, but my husband has been there before on business. One of the places he was eager to introduce me to was El Callejon. ¬†Much of the restaurant is completely open to the outdoors. Now, if you live on the west coast, this may be very “so what?” to you, but for those of us from the land of 20-degree winters and 100 degree summers, this is a very novel thing!

“El callejon” is Spanish for “the alley,” and the restaurant feels very much like a bar that spilled out into a wide alley with extra seating for diners. The open-air dining and the year-round party lights give the place the feel of a casual backyard summer party.

We started with the ubiquitous chips and salsa, but this was not the typical fare. The chips were thick and crunchy — in a good way — as well as fresh and hot. The salsa cruda was clearly made from fresh ingredients: not the perfect red you get from canned tomatoes, but a pale color that disguised surprising flavor. Perfect hit of onion and jalapeno, too.

Since we were on the coast, I decided to go with seafood. The menu includes a section for choosing which kind of fish you want and which kind of sauce. Being a spice wimp, I steered clear of anything on the menu that sounded spicy. I love lemon, so I ordered salmon cooked in butter, lemon, white wine and spices, topped with capers. The salmon was perfectly cooked — not too dry, as if often the case. But, as much as I love lemon — and I do! — the sauce really overwhelmed the flavor of the dish.

Eric ordered Medallones al Cilantro o Chipotle — beef medallions topped with melted cheese, served in a cilantro or chipotle sauce. I sneaked a taste, of course. We both loved the delicious, spice-laden flavor of the dish, but the meat was a tad — just a tad — overcooked. Still quite enjoyable.

For desert, we ordered the flan. My experience with ordering both flan and creme brulee is that you never know if you’re going to get creamy, smooth deliciousness, or overdone eggy stuff. This was neither. It was more of a cheesecake texture. The flavor was great, but the texture was just unexpected. Had I expected it, I think it would have been perfect.

Located at: 345 S. Coast Hwy 101, in Encinitas
Open for: Lunch and dinner
El Callejon website
On Urbanspoon:
El Callejon on Urbanspoon

Pomodoro 
Our last night in the fair city… what to eat? I was a little tired of Mexican, and thinking of a memorable dinner I had more than 20 years ago at an Italian cucina in Los Angelos, I had a craving for pasta with seafood and vodka sauce. (If you’ve never had vodka sauce, it might sound horrible, but it’s really a tomato and cream sauce, and although there is vodka involved in the making, you don’t taste it: it’s just a beautiful marriage of flavors that sing!) So doing a search for that dish in San Diego, I found Pomodoro.

I loved the atmosphere! There is nothing remotely pretentious or design-y about it. Sort of almost-kitchy but in a very authentic way. On the inside it looks like it was a small bungalow home that’s been converted into a restaurant. The floors are old hardwood; there is a bay window facing the street, partially covered by homemade curtains with a red tomato motif. The walls are adorned with dishes sporting tomatoes and other Italian themes. The very busy kitchen is only separated from the dining by a counter, and whether or not they are, the staff feels like an Italian family, serving you in their own home.

We started with caprese. The mozarella, I suspect, was housemade; perfect texture. The basil leaves were monstrous — well, by Kansas-in-February standards, anyway! They were a good 4 to 5″ long. (I must confess, I swooned a bit when I saw them.)

For the entree, I had Farfalle Salmone e Vodka; Eric ordered sea scallops in a light wine garlic sauce, served over spinach. Both dishes were fine — really, they were — but just not remarkable. There was very little salmon but lots of pasta, and the sauce was okay, but it just didn’t sing for me. Eric said the scallops were nicely cooked, but not seasoned at all. I think perhaps we just didn’t order the best possible options, because it has a 93% rating on Urbanspoon, and was jam-packed. Or perhaps it’s more just authenticity than I’m used to. I’d definitely give it at least one more try.

Located at: 2833 Avenida de Portugal, in Point Loma
Open for: Lunch and dinner
Pomodoro website
On Urbanspoon:
Pomodoro on Urbanspoon


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San Diego: Where to eat breakfast