Tag Archives: avocado

Awesome salad! (Or rice bowl)

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Gluten-free | Nut-free | Paleo option | Clean eating 

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I hear it’s winter somewhere. We’ve had highs in the 70s almost every day, so it’s often weird to remember that there’s snow on the ground in literally every other state but ours. For those poor cold souls, here’s a nice shot of summer freshness for you!

With the option to make it a warm, comforting, but still fresh and bright, meal too!

This is another winner from my good friend Jessica. She texted the recipe to me as soon as it was pronounced delicious by her family, and I couldn’t wait to get it on our meal plan! But I knew I’d have to make some kind of modification for my non-salad-eating girls. So here’s what I did: I cooked up a batch of jasmine rice. Yep, that’s all. (I’ll share how I make it extra delicious in a second.)

For myself and my husband, I made the salads. The tangy dressing with the delicious marinade, creamy avocado, and peppery bite of the grilled veggies – so good.

But THEN, put the chicken and veggies on top of the savory rice, and the whole flavor profile changes! The marinated chicken takes on a completely different personality! I’m still floored by how versatile this fresh marinade is. (The marinade, which doubles as the dressing, does have chili flakes in it, but it really doesn’t translate to spicy heat, just great zesty flavor.) I can’t wait for leftovers!

Grilled Chili Lime Fajita Salad (or Rice Bowl)

Original recipe here

Marinade/Dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 100ml (just over 1/3 cup, or about 4 limes) fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro (1 Tbsp dried works just fine)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and rough chopped
  • 1 tsp honey (or brown sugar)
  • 3/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt

Salad:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs or 3 breasts, or a combo (I haven’t decided which I like better!), no more than 3/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced, and 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced (or if you’re in a pinch like me, just use a whole orange pepper!)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • lettuce leaves
  • avocado, sliced
  • optional: additional cilantro for garnish
  • optional: sour cream, to serve

Rice:

For every cup of dry jasmine rice, add:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a liquid measuring cup and whisk well to emulsify.
  2. Place chicken in a shallow dish; pour half of marinade over chicken. Cover remaining marinade with plastic wrap and save in the fridge to use as salad dressing. Marinate chicken 2 hours or all day.
  3. If making rice, start the rice. Cover and simmer on low 15 minutes, then leave covered until ready to serve.
  4. Heat your grill pan to medium-high and spray with soy-free cooking spray. Grill chicken until done on both sides, with nice grill marks. (I like to cover the pan while the second side cooks so that it heats evenly.) When done, set it aside on a warm plate and cover to rest.
  5. Remove any burned bits from the grill pan, spray again with cooking spray, and add the pepper and onion slices. Grill to desired doneness.
  6. Slice chicken into strips, then build your salad or rice bowl:
    Salad: lettuce, avocado, sliced chicken, and pepper and onion slices. Whisk the dressing again and pour over the salad.
    Rice bowl: rice, sliced chicken, pepper and onion slices, and anything else that sounds good!

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Double-chocolate avocado whole-wheat muffins.

That’s quite a mouthful of a title, isn’t it? Let’s give them a tastier (i.e. not healthy-sounding) nickname: Happy Chocolate Muffins. Or something.

muffinsWho else has a picky eater in their house? My 15-month-old is ours. She won’t drink milk, so we’re still nursing (even at night – woo-hoo!), & though she’s consistently at around the 90th percentile for height, over the past 6 months we’ve seen her weight drop from 50th… to 30th… to 14th. One month we learned she lost a pound. Yikes! So under doctor’s orders I’ve been trying to find creative ways to incorporate the healthy fats she’s not getting from whole milk or the many foods she won’t eat into foods she will eat. I plan to post some of the tips & tricks I’ve been learning in the near future, but in the meantime, here’s my latest discovery:

Using avocado instead of butter or oil in baked goods.

Huge revelation!

Avocados are amazing. According to WebMD, “Avocados are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C,K, folate, and B6. Half an avocado has 160 calories, 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat. One globe contains more than one-third daily value of vitamin C, and more than half the day’s requirements of vitamin K.”

So after one particularly scary weight check at the doctor’s office, I bought an avocado on sale & then asked my friends on Facebook for ways to sneak it into a picky toddler’s diet. I got tons of great ideas! Smoothies, mashed with bananas (that worked, like, once), & baked into stuff. One friend sent me the recipe below.

On the first try, these were tasty… if a little dense. The original recipe called for using all whole-wheat flour. The girls didn’t seem to mind, but, my husband said it tasted like a “chocolate bran muffin.” I remade them last night with half whole-wheat, half all-purpose, & they were an even bigger hit! If you’re concerned that your kids (or your husband!) will suspect & thus not eat the “healthy” muffins, start with the proportions below; then, if you want to make it healthier, gradually increase the proportion of whole-wheat. And don’t say anything about the avocado; you can’t taste it, & it’ll just give them a reason to turn up their noses at these. There’s no point if they won’t eat them, right? I also added flaxseed for more healthy fats, omega-3s, lignans, & fiber.

The original recipe was for mini-muffins, but since I don’t have a mini-muffin tin (what?!), mine are regular-sized. Mini-muffins are a perfect size to put in your little one’s lunchbox when school starts next month.

  • 2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal (pour into 1-cup measuring cup before adding the flour & then fill the rest with the flour)
  • 1 1/3 cup (minus 2 Tbsp.) all-purpose flour*
  • 1 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour*
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large, ripe Hass avocado
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (if making mini-muffins, use mini chocolate chips)

* The original recipe calls for all whole-wheat flour, but my family is more likely to eat them this way.

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray wells of muffin tin generously with cooking spray. (I tried using papers, but they stuck like crazy. So don’t be like me.)
  2. Sift together dry ingredients.
  3. Beat the avocado & sugar together around 3 minutes, or until smooth. Isn’t that beautiful?avocado
  4. Beat in liquid ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients, stirring until incorporated.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon into wells of muffin tin. Bake for 18 minutes for regular muffins, or 15 minutes for mini-muffins. Makes 2 dozen regular muffins or 4 dozen mini-muffins.

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