Tag Archives: healthy

Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Sheet Pan Supper

Sheet Pan Supper – Chicken and vegetables roasted all together on one pan for a super easy dinner with minimal cleanup.  Meals like this are a lifesaver during hectic evenings when you need to get dinner on the table without a lot of effort. 

Also known as “clean out the fridge dinners” around here.  You know how it goes, you’re running around trying to get everything done, making sure you have clean clothes, the dog is staring at you like “Um, hello… Could I get some food down here too?”.  You open the fridge to find some carrots, peppers and maybe a few other veggies.  Onions, potatoes and tomatoes are always on hand, so you are halfway home.  If you don’t eat meat, or if it’s a “meatless Monday”, you’re done.  Otherwise, a couple of chicken breasts thrown on with the veggies and some seasoning makes this a slam dunk in record time. The most time consuming part of this is chopping the vegetables.  If I know that I’m facing a busy week, I chop veggies ahead of time and store them in the fridge.  

I really love meals like this because I always have bits of veggies in the fridge.  Not enough to actually serve as a side by themselves, but if I put them all together- I’m in business.  This is also the perfect way to use up those vegetables that are on the verge of being tossed out.  No one wants to waste food, so a sheet pan supper is the way to salvage what you’ve already bought!

The best part of a sheet pan supper- only 1 pan to wash and if you line it with parchment paper, it’s a snap.  Use this as a basic jumping off point.  If your family doesn’t like certain veggies, change them out.  This is a suggestion and it’s what I had in my fridge.  It changes quite literally every time I make this.  One week, it could be broccoli and Brussels sprouts and the next I might only have a few root vegetables.   The proteins change as well – try shrimp or a beautiful piece of salmon or cod in place of chicken, just remember to adjust cooking times.  

A word about the Sheet Pan 

If you have a jelly roll pan or a flat cookie sheet (no sides), those aren’t sheet pans and they may warp.   A heavy-duty commercial grade sheet pan is best.  If you don’t own one, you need to buy one (or 3) immediately.  For less than $15, this workhorse of the kitchen will be a lifesaver.  In restaurant kitchens, a sheet pan is probably the most used item.  It will last you forever if you take care of it. 

Used in this Recipe:
Sheet Pan
Parchment Paper

Sheet Pan Supper
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 - 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  2. 2 bell peppers, chopped
  3. 4 carrots, peeled, sliced in half and chopped into 2" pieces (I used rainbow carrots)
  4. 1 large sweet onion or 5 shallots, peeled and chopped
  5. 2 russet potatoes, washed and diced into 1" pieces
  6. 1 large sweet potato, washed and diced into 1" pieces
  7. 1 1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
  8. a few sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary
  9. kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  10. 2 tbsp. canola oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Toss carrots, sweet potatoes and russet potatoes with half of the oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  3. Place on sheet pan and put in the oven. Roast until about halfway done, roughly 20 minutes. Toss remaining veggies with 1 tsp. oil, salt & pepper. Drizzle remaining oil over chicken breasts and season with salt & pepper.
  4. Remove tray from oven and add chicken and the rest of your veggies. Tuck sprigs of thyme or rosemary between vegetables and lay on top of chicken.
  5. Return tray to oven for 25 - 28 minutes, or until chicken is done. If your chicken breasts are on the smaller side, start checking them at 24-25 minutes. If they are large, you may need the full 28 minutes.
Notes
  1. We add ingredients to the sheet pan in stages because it doesn't all cook at the same time. Potatoes & carrots take a bit longer, so they need a head start.
  2. If you use seafood instead of chicken, remember to cut baking time by roughly half. Shrimp will cook in about 10-12 minutes (medium size) in a hot oven with convection. Portions of fish will need a few minutes longer.
  3. *All ovens are different! You may have to adjust a few minutes on either side of cooking times if your oven runs cool or hot.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
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Instant Pot Tomatillo-Poblano White Beans

Tomatillo Poblano White Beans

Beans are the perfect introduction to the Instant Pot.  If you are new to the Instant Pot craze, or even if you’ve had yours for a while now, these beans will make their way into your regular rotation.  Tomatillo Poblano White Beans are my new favorite thing.  I made them a few weeks ago when there was some football game.  Everyone was making *quite* the fuss over it. Well, I had promised nachos for this sporting event and I delivered BIG thanks to these beans.  I warmed some tortilla chips in the oven, sprinkled a few things on them and then heaped these beans on top.  It was so dang good!!!

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Curried Cauliflower with Golden Raisins

Curried Cauliflower with Golden Raisins and GingerCurried cauliflower with golden raisins and ginger is a great side for chicken or steak, but it can stand on its own as  a meatless meal.

We are eating more vegetables these days.   Also, we are eating healthier.  At least, we are trying to eat healthier (when I’m not eating cookies).  I love vegetables, I honestly prefer them over meat most of the time.  However, they can be boring  if you never jazz them up.  Otherwise, we’d eat them without complaint.  A little spice can go a long way.  For example – curry powder.

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Baked Eggs in Mini Bell Pepper Cups

baked-eggs-pepper-cupsI had bell peppers on my list.  Not these sweet little things, but the grown up kind. When I laid eyes on these, somehow the big guys lost their appeal.   I’m a sucker for cute little things.

As soon as I got them home, I started thinking about what I could do with them.  The obvious was mini stuffed peppers or filling them with dip and sticking a few veggies in them.   Then I went a completely different direction…  I love the idea of these for a brunch.   With the holidays right around the corner, these would be a perfect bite for Christmas morning or the day after Thanksgiving when any major cooking is off the table.  The evening before, slice the lids from your peppers and wrap them up for the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, crack an egg into each pepper and slide into the oven.  How’s that for easy and minimal cleanup?!

These are also perfectly portable, just toss a couple in a container and off to work or school you go! I’d much rather eat this than a dry granola bar.  Looking for a light meatless supper?  It’s got you covered there too!  They are also a good size for little hands, no silverware necessary.  

baked eggs - Pook's PantryBack to brunch: I love the idea of a platter filled with a dozen of these, with different spices or seasonings, on a bountiful table for everyone to help themselves.  (READ: I’m not waiting on you!)

Small servings work especially well for someone like me who is perfectly content to make a meal of several appetizers.  I like to taste a few different things instead of having one entree!  This allows me to have one baked egg and also a few other treats, which is really my goal in life…  to try everything I can get my hands on.baked-eggs-in-mini-bell-pepper-cups
Be creative!  Try different combinations, different herbs, etc.  Scallions, tarragon, chives and dill are great herbs for eggs.  Curry powder, hot sauce,  HP sauce (from UK) and of course hollandaise, if you’re feeling fancy, are delicious on eggs.  Another option is putting a little cheese or bacon in the bottom of the cup, or whisking it all together and making an omelet baked in the pepper cup.  Whatever your favorite egg combination, make it delicious!Baked Eggs - Pooks Pantry

Baked Eggs in Mini Bell Pepper Cups
Yields 4
Individual Baked Eggs in Mini Bell Pepper Cups
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
23 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
23 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 Mini Bell Peppers
  2. 4 Medium Eggs
  3. seasonings of your choice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice top off pepper and set aside. Remove seeds and membrane from pepper. Crack 1 medium egg each into mini bell pepper.
  2. Set on a baking sheet or in a glass baking dish and bake for 16 - 18 minutes, until whites are set, but yolks are still a bit runny.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, curry powder, herbs, hot sauce, etc. Whatever tickles your fancy!
Notes
  1. Small or medium eggs work best in mini bell pepper cups. Large eggs will overflow!
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
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Curry Coconut Corvina with Idaho® Potatoes

Corvina and Idaho Potatoes with Coconut Curry

This is my first in a series of sponsored posts by Idaho® Potato!   I’m thrilled to be working with them, they are the BEST!  All opinions are my own. 

Curry seems to be one of those flavors that people feel very strongly about.  They either love it or they hate it,  there’s not much middle ground.  I’m in the “love it” camp.  Just the smell of curry makes my heart flutter.   A long, long time ago in a city far, far away when I was in culinary school, we would wander the streets of NYC and more often than not we ended up in an area of Manhattan that had lots of spice shops and Indian restaurants.   I think that’s where my love of curry was born.

I suggest making this with a meaty fish like corvina or halibut.   A delicate fish like sole would get lost in the aggressive flavor of the curry.  That being said,  the potatoes are really the star of the show.   They absolutely make the dish.  The crunchy outside and fluffy inside of the potatoes make it a perfect vessel to soak up that luscious sauce. The bright tang of the tomato combined with the heady, warm spiciness of the curry against the creamy flesh of the potato makes for a perfect bite. 
It’s so good that I’ve considered making it vegan by omitting the fish, doubling the potatoes and adding in more peas, onions, chickpeas, etc.

A word on trial and error:  
Cooking well takes practice.  The more you cook, the better you get.  You will begin to develop a feel for flavors that pair well (sometimes without even needing to taste it, you’ll just “know”) and even after you’ve been doing it professionally for 14 years, it’s not always perfect.  See Below…  

Recipe Testing:
This was the first version. Do you see how yellow the sauce is?  The curry was just a “pinch” too much. It overpowered the coconut flavor.  I backed off just a half teaspoon the next time around and it was perfect.   
Take risks, learn from mistakes…  That’s the only way to develop your palate and learn.  That statement also applies to so much more in life.  It’s a pretty good mantra. 

First round

 
Chef’s Tip: How to get those potatoes SUPER crispy

  • Soak the potatoes in cold water.   This helps to remove some of the starch, which helps them to crisp on the outside and remain tender and fluffy inside.  The water will become cloudy.  I usually let them soak for 15 minutes and change the water once, then let them sit for another five minutes or so. 
  • Drain and pat dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
  • Why does this matter?  The excess starch can sometimes prevent the potatoes from cooking through before they begin to brown too much,  leaving you with dark potatoes that aren’t cooked properly.  Every restaurant I have ever worked in, potatoes always get a soak before frying so it stands to reason that if we are “oven-frying”, the same rules apply. 

Corvina and Potatoes with Coconut Curry

 
Chef’s Tip: Always put the “good side” face down first in the pan.  
How do you know?  Here’s a photo to help!
 Chef Tip

Assemble like a Pro:
Corvina Potato Collage

 

 

Let’s Cook!

Corvina and Idaho®Potatoes with Coconut Curry
Serves 4
A delicious, healthy meal with a simple coconut curry sauce that will make this easy dinner feel like a special occasion.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1.5 lb. piece of corvina, cut into 4 equal pieces
  2. 2 large Idaho® Russet Potatoes, sliced into 1/4" rounds
  3. 1 - 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  4. 1 - 13.5oz can coconut milk
  5. 1/2 cup frozen peas
  6. 1 tablespoon Madras curry powder (yellow curry powder)
  7. 1 clove garlic, minced
  8. 4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  9. kosher salt
  10. black pepper
  11. white pepper
  12. canola oil for frying and baking
  13. nonstick cooking spray
Special Equipment
  1. parchment paper
  2. sheet pan
Make the crispy potatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C)
  2. Line sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment with cooking spray. This will help to ensure we don't have to pry the potatoes off, leaving our crunchy outside stuck to the paper.
  3. Soak potatoes (as described above), pat dry with paper towels and place in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Toss to evenly coat potatoes and lay them on the parchment-lined sheet pan, put in the oven on the middle rack.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip potatoes over. Rotate the pan and slide back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are crispy and cooked through. Sprinkle with a fat pinch of kosher salt while they are still warm.
  5. *Your oven may run hot or cold, so times may vary! Keep an eye on the potatoes after you've flipped them.
While the potatoes are baking, cook the fish
  1. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and drizzle in 2 TB canola oil.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of the corvina with kosher salt and white pepper, place fish in the pan, good side down, and cook for 8-10 minutes. Using a fish spatula, carefully flip the fish over and cook for another 5 minutes. The time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish.
  3. Remove the fish and set aside. DO NOT CLEAN OUT THE PAN.
  4. Add in garlic and let it saute for a minute, then add in coconut milk, curry powder and tomatoes. Let the sauce cook down for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, then add fish back into the pan along with the peas. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes, until fish is warmed through.
  5. Place potatoes on the plate and ladle sauce over them. Place fish on top and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
Notes
  1. Corvina varies in thickness, try to choose a piece that is fairly even from one end to the other. This will make it easier to portion into equal sized pieces and it will guarantee that the cooking rate for all the pieces will be the same.
  2. If you have one piece that is very thin and one piece that is very thick, the thin piece will be cooked through well before the thicker piece. In that case, put the thicker piece of fish in the pan first and let it get a head start on the thinner piece(s).
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
Used in this recipe:
Amazon Affiliate Links,  I get a few pennies if you click on the above photos.  I only promote what I actually use and love!

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Summer Grain Salad

summer grain salad

It’s the unofficial start to summer and you know what that means:  dining alfresco!  Whether it be picnics, backyard BBQ’s or lunch hours outside on a bench while soaking up a little sunshine, this grain salad with it’s rainbow of colors has you covered.

It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy nature’s bounty of fresh vegetables.  If you are trying to eat a little cleaner and healthier, grain salads are for you!  The satisfying chewiness of whole grains, the crunch of fresh veggies,  the freshness of herbs and the zing of red wine vinegar make this salad a home run. 

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Honey Lemon Vinaigrette with Whole Grain Mustard

FINAL 1
The three most dreaded words in my vocabulary “Bathing Suit Season”.   It’s not that I have an issue wearing one, I hate shopping for them.   Come on, Girls out there…  Please tell me you have my back.   It could nearly be classified as torture.  I have to psych myself up for the task, give myself a little pep talk and promise myself a reward if I get it accomplished in record time.

When life gives you lemons, make a vinaigrette ~ Me.

The point is, we are eating ALOT of salads these days.  We always eat salad, but lately we are eating enough greens for a small village.   We have a few favorites, like this Butternut Arugula Salad, but I like to change it up fairly often.  One of the best ways to do that is with the dressing. Last year, we were at a family reunion and I was lucky enough to score 2 lbs of raw honey from a cousin who has bees.   That honey is incredible and makes the best vinaigrettes!   Making your own vinaigrette at home takes about 5 minutes and one of the advantages in doing it yourself is total control over the ingredients.  You know exactly what is in there.  No red dye #5,  no high-fructose corn syrup, no need for a PhD to decipher ingredients!   Just squeeze a few lemons, add in a little honey, blitz it & stir in whole grain mustard.  Easy Peasy, Lemony Squeezy.

This vinaigrette is good for more than just salad, I use it in a summer pasta salad (post coming soon) and it’s a great marinade for chicken!  This recipe makes about 3 cups of dressing and it will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 – 7 days.   Five minutes of work for a vinaigrette you can use all week!  That’s a pretty good deal.

Honey Lemon Vinaigrette with Whole Grain Mustard
A light homemade salad dressing with honey, lemon and mustard
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Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 fl. oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 big lemons)
  2. 6 TB raw honey
  3. 1 TB whole grain mustard
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1/4 tsp pepper
  6. 1/2 cup olive oil
  7. 1 1/2 cups canola or grapeseed oil
Instructions
  1. Combine lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a deep bowl or container. I like to use quart containers (Tall deli containers or large soup containers from takeout)
  2. With an immersion blender (or regular blender), combine all ingredients for about 15 seconds and SLOWLY drizzle in olive oil, then canola oil.
  3. The texture and color will begin to lighten as it emulsifies.
  4. You will see oil on top and then suddenly, it will be a perfectly blended dressing that holds together instead of looking separated.
  5. When dressing is nice and thick, add in whole grain mustard and give it one last blast with the immersion blender to combine everything & Voila! Dressing, Done!
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/

Quinoa with Pistachios, Lemon and Mint

6 PP
Winter is on it’s way out, Spring is right around the corner and it’s time to change up the menu, moving from hearty stews and roasts to lighter fare and my clients are no exception.  Although we live in a warm climate year-round,  when the temperatures start climbing, no one wants a pot roast.  

In this installment of #Client Food Fridays, we will put together this quinoa salad in about 20 minutes!  How’s that for quick? Did it mention it’s delicious & healthy too?  Winner!

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Soba Noodles and Stir-Fried Vegetables

Soba Noodles with Stir Fried Vegetables - Pook's Pantry

Soba noodles with stir-fried vegetables is a quick, easy and delicious healthy option for meatless Monday, or any day of the week.  Soba noodles cook in a only a few minutes, the veggies get a quick sauté and dinner is done.  From fridge to fork in less than 20 minutes – faster if you prep vegetable the night before.

It’s another New Year and once again, after the gluttony that was Thanksgiving and Christmas overindulgence, it’s time to rein it back in.  One way that we have decided to do that around here is sticking to a “meatless Monday”. 

While we were whooping it up in Vancouver a few months ago, we had a warm soba noodle appetizer at our favorite sushi restaurant.  It was loaded with seafood and unbelievably delicious.  I wanted to have something reminiscent of that salad, but suitable for a vegetarian dinner.   The only restriction I gave myself (aside from the seafood) was that I had to use what I had in the kitchen.    It wasn’t like there was a “rule” in play…  I just didn’t feel like going to store.  Out of sheer laziness, deliciousness was born!

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Get Your Freekeh On

 

 

Freekeh Salad.jpg

No, this is not a new MIssy Elliott song, but it is all about that grain. 

Freekeh is one of those grains that gets overshadowed by the “in” crowd…  You know the cool kid of the grain world at the moment: quinoa.  I love quinoa, I’m not bashing it AT ALL, but there is a whole world of grains that people have never heard of, including myself until about 15 years ago.  Freekeh has a wonderfully nutty flavor and a chewy texture, similar to barley or other hearty grains.   

I absolutely adore grain salads.  During the heat of summertime, they are chock full of bright red tomatoes and crisp cucumbers, but as we move into fall they transition to root vegetables, dried fruits and nuts.

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