Easy, Healthier Chicken “Cacciatore” with Black Beluga Lentils

Why is Chicken Cacciatore so delicious? Perhaps it’s the rich, dark meat. Or the fact that it’s cooked with liquid ingredients, yielding the most moist, juicy, delicious chicken. Well, I’ve captured the “essential” elements of Chicken Cacciatore, but in this much simplified, healthified dish.

This recipe is made with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, meaning they a) cook faster and b) are lower in fat and calories due to the lack of fatty skin. It’s also extremely easy to make — with only five minutes hands-on time.

Chicken_Cacciatore

I served the chicken, with all of the delicious, garlick-y, tomato-y juices, over black beluga lentils. If you’ve never had black lentils, they look like caviar and pack a major nutritional punch. For 1/2 cup cooked lentils, you get about 12 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber. Plus, they cook in about 25 minutes. Much faster than most beans — and no pre-soaking! Just bring one part lentils and three parts water to a boil and then simmer until they are soft but not mushy (about 25 minutes total).

*Be sure to make extra black lentils and save the extra tomato sauce for my upcoming recipe for black lentil “muffins!”

Recipe: Chicken Cacciatore

No need to brown the chicken before baking it as traditional recipes call for — you still get tons of flavor here. Try adding your favorite vegetables or mushrooms to the casserole dish before baking for added nutrition.

Chicken_Cacciatore_Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1.5-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (preferably organic)
  • 1 can organic diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add all ingredients, except for chicken, to a casserole dishTomato_Sauce
  3. Add chicken thighs to tomato mixture and turn chicken thighs to coatChicken_Before
  4. Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the center of the chicken reads 165 degrees

Serving suggestion: serve 4-6 ounces of chicken over 1/2 cup cooked black lentils. Save the leftover lentils and tomato sauce mixture for my next recipe — black lentil “muffins.”

Chicken_After

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Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Cauliflower Pizza “Crust”

I will admit to being a total girl and getting the idea for a cauliflower-based pizza crust from Pinterest. I mean, let’s be honest though, Pinterest is amazing! What else would I spend my time on? Something meaningful and productive? I think not.

I had recently seen lots of pins about a cauliflower pizza crust and/or cauliflower “bread sticks.” After making Tandoori Cauliflower a couple weeks ago, I became cauliflower’s biggest fan (never really liked it before). I knew I had to test out the crust idea. Plus, at least half of my coworkers are allergic to either gluten and/or dairy. So I am always looking for recipes that they can also enjoy.

Most of the recipes I found on Pinterest contained mozzarella cheese, so I adjusted to my needs (dairy-free, gluten-free). I was skeptical as to whether this would taste great or gross, and must say that my expectations were blown out of the water! This was absolutely delicious. My only problem was that I didn’t make enough of it. I can’t wait to try it with different toppings and maybe a little cheese (I don’t have an intolerance, so why punish myself — cheese is delicious).

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cauliflower_Pizza_Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head raw cauliflower, riced (using potato ricer) or grated (should look like little cheese-like crumbles)
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast*
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat olive oil in pan for 1 minute. Add minced onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add cauliflower and cook another 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Mix until well incorporated.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread cauliflower mixture onto parchment. Shape into 8″-9″ circle. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until top is browned and crust is crisp.

Top with your favorite pizza ingredients. I spread mine with tomato paste, sweet pepper jam, crunchy kale and kalamata and green olives and baked an additional 7 minutes. With the pepper jelly and an extra sprinkling of chili pepper flakes, it was the perfect sweet/spicy combo!

*Since the original recipes I saw called for 1 cup shredded mozzarella, I replaced with 1/2 cup nutritional yeast to give a cheesy taste without actual cheese. If you’ve never used nutritional yeast, it has a cheesy taste, is vegan and gluten-free and contains protein (6 g per 1/4 cup), phosphorous (supports bone health) and potassium (helps regulate blood pressure among other things). Not to mention that 1/2 cup (the amount used in the entire recipe) contains only 90 calories (plus 12 grams protein). You can find nutritional yeast at Whole Foods and/or at your local health food store.

 

 

 

Carrots with Red Wine Reduction + New Website

First off, thank you for stopping by and reading my blog! Shop, Eat, Live Well is getting a new name and moving to a new address, danaartinyan.com, so please check out both my new website as well as the many nutrition services I offer.

Now, onto the food…

The other day, I got a present from my coworker: a whole bag full of colorful baby carrots just picked from her garden. Clearly, she knows the way to my heart!

I absolutely love the look of a baby carrot and wanted to keep them whole and intact to highlight their beauty. Besides being pretty, carrots are an excellent source – 110% of your daily needs in just one carrot – of vitamin A (immune functioning, eye health, anti-oxidant properties) and a good source – 10% of your daily needs – of vitamin C (another powerful anti-oxidant, plus it promotes better skin and improved cardiovascular functioning). Carrots are also low in calories (only 30 calories for a large carrot) and surprisingly low in sugar, despite their natural sweetness.

I wanted to bring this sweetness and also lend a bit of earthiness to the carrots with a red wine reduction sauce over the carrots. I paired with some garbanzo beans to give some protein and fiber, and had quite a delicious and filling (thanks to all that fiber!) meal.

Red Wine-Glazed Carrots

Red Wine-Glazed Baby Carrots:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby carrots with stems intact (I used multi-colored), rinsed/scrubbed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked sea salt

Directions:

Heat olive oil and minced garlic for about 1 minute. Add carrots and saute for 10 minutes (on medium-high heat). Add wine and remaining ingredients and cook until the red wine has reduced to about 2 Tbsp (will also be thicker).

Serve over grains such as quinoa, brown rice, or buckwheat or along with beans (garbanzo, pinto, kidney). Would also make a great side dish to white fish, chicken or pork tenderloin.

See you at danaartinyan.com!

Think Your Drink

Beware: could be a calorie bombWith Pumpkin Spice Latte season upon us, it’s only fitting to talk coffee drinks. No, I’m not talking black coffee. I mean the creamy, sweet, comforting drinks that we all love – especially when they are pumpkin-y, peppermint-y or white-chocolate-y.

While delicious, most specialty coffee drinks are loaded with milk and/or cream, syrup and other flavorings, all of which give you calories, fat and carbs that you really don’t need.

Take, for example, an average woman, who needs around 1200-1500 calories a day. A coffee drink containing 300 calories, such as a grande peppermint mocha, will provide her with 25% or 20% of her daily calories, respectively. Yikes! For the same number of calories, you could have a quarter pound of lean steak, 1/2 a cup of brown rice and 1 1/2 cups veggies (AKA a whole meal). Hmm I wonder which will keep you feeling full…

So what’s one to do? Sometimes you just want a treat; a little pick-me-up. Well, you can still have your coffee and drink it too. Here are some tweaks you can make to lighten up your drinks (values are for 16 oz , or Grande, drinks):

  • Order your drink with skim milk = 50 calories saved
    • Note: soy milk contains the same number of calories as 2% milk.
  • Get 2 pumps of syrup instead of 4 (the usual number that come in a flavored drink) = 40 calories saved
  • Get 1 pump of syrup instead of 4 = 60 calories saved
  • Hold the whipped cream = 70 calories and 7 grams fat saved
  • Order it with sugar-free syrup (vanilla, hazelnut and cinnamon dolce) = 80 calories saved

So, your Cinnamon Dolce Latte with whipped cream (normally 280 calories) could be only 130 if you ordered it “skinny” (skim milk, sugar-free syrup) and sans whipped cream. Or a Pumpkin Spice Latte could be 200 calories (skim milk, 1 pump syrup) instead of 310 calories.

Some other tips to cut down on calories and save you money (read: make these at home) are:

  • Sprinkle cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice into your coffee grounds before brewing to yield a delicious, sweet and spicy coffee (no syrup necessary).
  • Tea: with so many delicious varieties of tea (chocolate, peppermint, fruity, etc.) to choose from, you know that you can always have a low- or no-calorie tasty drink.
    • Chai tea lovers: Brew chai tea (from a tea bag) and add a splash of milk and splenda or Stevia (only if you need it) for a Chai Tea Latte-esque drink with a fraction of the calories and sugar.
  • For those that like to use flavored creamers, try vanilla milk (almond, soy, rice, coconut milk) – it will add a hint of vanilla and still give your coffee the creaminess you’re looking for.