Dinners

Paleo Chicken Nuggets

Hi my name is Morgan and I am a five year old when it comes to chicken nuggets or tenders. Whenever hubby and I go to Citi Field for a Mets game (LGM!) I always get the same. exact. thing: Chicken tenders and french fries with a shake (from Shake Shack because duh…). I’ve ventured off the beaten path once and got a sausage and peppers, and the game wasn’t the same. What’s not to love about tenders and nuggets? They’re crispy, fried, juicy, and honey mustard makes for the perfect pairing. No questions asked.

I love using cassava flour to make nuggets, tenders, and cutlets because not only is it grain/gluten free, it’s provides such a depth of flavor from the yucca root itself. I use Thrive Market’s Cassava Flour – found here (also if you use the banner, you can get $20 shopping credit when you sign up for a membership!) and love the texture of it. Cassava is also super versatile and is usually a 1:1 ratio for subbing out AP flour when baking. The way the chicken crisps up when battered in cassava flour is very similar to using breadcrumbs.

Here’s what you’ll need for these paleo nuggets:

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Thrive Market Non-GMO Cassava Flour (or preferred brand)
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried rosemary
  • 4 tbsp avocado/olive oil
  • 3 tbsp grass fed butter
    • having a blend of healthy fats to shallow fry the chicken in helps with the crispiness and less splatter.
  • dipping sauce of choice
    • we used Cedar Foods tzatziki sauce.

For these nuggets, it’s as simple as a four-step process:

  1. Rinse and pat dry your chicken. Slice each breast into bite size pieces.
  2. Pour the cassava flour and dried spices into a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Add chicken pieces to the flour and mix together to fully coat each piece.
  4. Heat a skillet/large pan with oil and butter on medium heat and begin to place several pieces into the skillet. Let each piece sit for 3-4 minutes per side. Repeat until all chicken is cooked.

I swear this will become a family favorite, and will definitely be a weeknight go-to as this is one simple and quick dinner to pull together, especially if you have the chicken cut ahead of time. This could be delicious as chicken alfredo, thrown in with some broccoli for a stir fry, or just as is with a dip and veggies on the side!

Easy Baked MAC (Mac-n-Cheese)

It’s the holiday season, and there’s nothing better than seeing family, friends, and eating a ton of different foods. It’s the third night of Hanukkah, and while I didn’t make latke’s this year (which you can find my recipe from last year here), I did toy around with something anyone celebrating any holiday would love, MAC AND CHEESE.

There are a ton of different ways to make mac and cheese (or as I simply call it MAC), and I usually start by making a roux. A roux is a base for sauces such as a cheese sauce: you take chopped onions and butter, sauté until fragrant and translucent, then add flour and it makes a paste. Then, you pour in some cream/milk/alternative to milk and stock, and bring to a boil. This will thicken; turn the heat off and layer in the shredded cheese until fully blended and combined. Yeah, this recipe is labeled EASY MAC for a reason, because we skip the roux step. We use four ingredients and it’s done in one pot. You heard me, ONE POT.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb or box of pasta – I used Banza’s wheel shaped pasta (this is a chickpea flour pasta and it is delicious – find it here)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp grass fed butter
  • 1 and 1/2 cups mixed shredded cheese – I used Organic valley cheddar, sharp cheddar, and mozzarella.
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Breadcrumbs – to top off prior to broil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Cook your preferred pasta to the desired doneness, since Banza is gluten free I cooked two minutes below the recommended time on the box as I prefer to have pasta more al dente. Strain and rinse.

Add back into the same pot and turn the heat onto medium. Pour in the milk and butter, stirring the pasta in and coating. Have patience here, the butter will take some time to melt. Sprinkle in the cheese a little at a time, stirring to combine frequently. Keep the heat between medium and low, so the cheese melts and coats all the pasta.

Set the oven to broil. Pour the MAC from the pot into an oven friendly casserole dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, plus a pinch more shredded cheese bc #yolo. Broil for three minutes, check after three because it can go from nicely brown to “OMG I BURNT IT” in a matter of minutes. Serve immediately and scarf down because this baby will go fast at your dinner table! NOMaste and Happy Holidays! <3

Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs

Being that it’s Thanksgiving, I should probably experiment with turkey recipes, but neither my husband or I are super crazy about it, although I do have my eyes set on tying to make roasted turkey legs (i’d prefer dark than white meat from a turkey anyway). I remembered I had ground chicken in my freezer and decided to give this one a shot, because chicken meatballs can take one sharp sauces such as teriyaki and I figured why not, it’s Black Friday and I am absolutely not about to go shopping – may as well cook!

Here’s what you’ll need for the chicken meatballs:

  • 1 lb or package of ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs as a binding agent
  • Chopped veggies such as carrots, celery, and onion (aka Mirepoix – you can buy store made already which I did this time around)
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, spices, oil, and mirepoix. It will be a rather sticky blend but it will bake just fine.

Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with your choice of spray oil. Portion on the meatballs with a tablespoon, roll into balls and place on the tray. The mix should make around 16 meatballs. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

For the teriyaki sauce, I used Primal Kitchen’s No Soy Teriyaki but added arrowroot to thicken it up and a bit more coconut aminos. The end result is a super delicious soy-free, paleo sauce to pour over the meatballs, and pair with a side of wild rice and veggies! Enjoy!

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

I am a sucker for a good chinese food take out night. The flavor, the greasiness, the dumplings (I am obsessed with dumplings), and the overall deliciousness of the cuisine. I know that American-style chinese food is not necessarily compatible to the real deal in China, and American-style chinese food tends to have a significant amount of sugars, sodium, and soy sauce, which causes my belly to get upset pretty quickly. I have always wanted to dabble at making a stir fry, so I figured tonight was the perfect night to do so.

I love recipes that call for simple ingredients, such as this one. I’ll keep the narrative light on this recipe but will say that I swear by Coconut Aminos. Coconut aminos acts as soy sauce and even sometimes a teriyaki when sugar is added, as it’s made directly from a coconut and has a lot more nutrients than soy sauce. I don’t prefer soy products so this is a great alternative, especially when paired with rice wine vinegar and a toasted sesame oil.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 bag pre-cut broccoli florets (or two small heads of broccoli cut at the florets)
  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • 3-4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3-4 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3-4 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bundle of stir fry rice noodles

To start, dice the chicken breasts into smaller bite size pieces. Heat a large pan to medium heat and add in oil and minced garlic. Add the chicken to the pan and begin to cook until all pieces are fully white, they are more than likely not cooked through but the chicken will cook as you layer in the sauce and broccoli. Add the broccoli and the sauces (coconut aminos, rice wine, and sesame oil). I would also add that you can lessen or increase the amount of each sauce as you desire. I also added a sprinkle of salt and pepper and red pepper flakes for good measure and a nice kick! Cover and let sit for a few minutes until broccoli becomes soft, and stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, Boil 4-5 quarts of water. Add in the stir fry noodles and turn off the heat. Let the noodles soak for 8-10 minutes and add them to the chicken and broccoli. The sauce will start off thin, but as the noodles are added and stirred, the noodles will absorb the sauce so feel free to add a bit more of rice wine vinegar or even 1/4 cup water if you desire. I promise frontloading the 3-4 tbsp of all of the liquids will be just enough.

The results are a lighter, healthier, and umami-satisfying version of the OG Chicken and Broccoli from your local take-out. NOMaste 🙂

Baked Ziti

Happy fall everyone! Gosh, it’s been a while since I’ve been on here blogging but I have had a pretty good excuse… I’m 15 weeks PREGNANT! Which then means, for my first trimester I was having a significant problem with keeping food down and even wanting foods other than bagels, pizza, and snacky foods. Now that I am cruising into the second trimester, I am slowly getting back into cooking and experimenting with a variety of different foods, and have always wanted to create a simple but delicious version of Baked Ziti.

This recipe features two of my favorite products from Organic Valley, a company that I hold dear to my heart. I love their values and mission to ensure all of their coops are pasture raised and do not cut corners, which is clear when you drink their milk or use their eggs. For this particular baked ziti, I opted for regular pasta, marinara, some dried seasonings (oregano and parsley) and ricotta and eggs from Organic Valley.

To start, I boiled a pot of water and cooked the pasta to al dente, about a minute less than what the box suggested. I strained the pasta and added it to a 9×13 pyrex baking dish, pre-lined with some marinara. I mixed in the ricotta, fresh mozzarella, and more sauce. I repeated this step until it was fully coated with sauce and ricotta. One thing I’ve learned from experimenting with baked ziti in the past is ensuring that there is plenty of sauce and ricotta so that it does not dry out.

Preheated the oven to 375 degrees. I dolloped some ricotta on top, sprinkled my Organic Valley cheese on top. Once the oven preheated, I baked the ziti for 15 minutes, then turned the oven to broil and broiled the ziti for 7 minutes just into most of the cheese turned brown. My husband, who is a pasta aficionado, even commended me for this one. Looks like I’ll be making this again soon. NOMaste 🙂

Baked Ziti

Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword baked food, baked ziti, pasta, traditional
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 2 containers Organic Valley ricotta cheese
  • 1 box Pasta (I used mezzi rigatoni)
  • 1 24oz jar Rao's marinara
  • 2 cups Organic Valley shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt to water and pour in pasta. Cook to desired doneness or box directions. Once done, drain pasta.

  2. Line a 9×13 pyrex baking dish with marinara sauce.

  3. Pour drained pasta into dish. Pour more marinara sauce, scoops of ricotta, and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese into the pasta and mix well.

  4. Continue to add marinara and ricotta until the pasta is fully coated and wet. Sprinkle with dried oregano and parsley.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  5. Spread mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

  6. Turn oven to broil and broil for 7 minutes until cheese is melted and browned. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Use gluten free pasta if you desire!  Banza works very well!

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