shredded chicken vegetable soup (starring kale)

Whole30 day 2! Still feeling pretty good, but I heard that’s going to change around the 1 week mark when the body really gets into detoxing… Anyway, for dinner tonight we have an easy one-pot protein and fiber packed meal!

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Ingredients:

  • chicken breast and thighs (thighs optional)
  • chicken stock
  • carrots
  • onion
  • celery
  • kale
  • salt
  • green sauce, recipe follows

In a large pot, pour in enough chicken stock to cover the chicken. If you run out, just add water until the chicken pieces are fully submerged. Bring the soup to a boil before quickly lowering to a simmer. NEVER let meat boil in liquid – the rough action will cause the meat to become tough and cloud the stock!

While the soup is simmering, peel, chop and add in the carrots, onion, and celery. Allow the soup to gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, 30 to 45 minutes from when the chicken was added. Skim and discard any scum that collects on top of the soup. When the chicken is cooked through, use two forks to shred the breast. Add in the kale and allow to cook for 5 more minutes until the kale is slightly softened. Season with salt and top with a few dollops of green sauce if desired.

To make the green sauce: Crush garlic into a paste. Add in minced basil and parsley leaves. Drizzle in olive oil. Squeeze in some lemon juice. Mix everything together well and add salt to taste.

vegetable rainbow nest with a poached egg

Kicked off the first day of May with the Whole30 challenge! Why? Well, because I need to hit the reset button on my body. Ever since I started working at The Food Network, I’ve managed to gain back all the weight (and then some ><) that I’d lost while hustling as a line cook in The NoMad Hotel kitchen. No surprise there since the smell of sweet and salty temptations waft through the halls of our Chelsea Market office every. Single. Day. And apparently, at least according to my scale, I’ve been “tasting” one too many “small-bites” of every creation coming out of the FN Kitchen…

For this colorful recipe here, a stroll through your local farmer’s market will most likely provide you with all of the ingredients you need! If you don’t have one, I do recommend purchasing a mandoline to help slice all of the vegetables. Alternatively, a vegetable peeler could work as well.

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Ingredients:

Carefully pass the carrots, radish, and asparagus through the mandoline to get them into thin slices. Arrange in a circular shape on a plate to form the “nest.” Place the poached egg in the center of the nest. Drizzle the flavored olive oil from the poached shiitake mushrooms in olive recipe over the visible parts of the nest, being sure to drop a few shiitake slices and roasted garlic. Serve with a crack of freshly ground black pepper.

endive taco w/ New York skirt steak

It was a Tuesday night after work, and I was strongly feeling the “Taco Tuesdays” vibe.

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Ingredients:

  • New York skirt steak
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 cup diced red onions
  • 1/4 cup diced mini heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup diced mini bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 small lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, the good stuff
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced, for serving
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, for serving
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, for serving
  • 2 endives, leaves separated and washed, for serving

Season the New York skirt steak on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a medium skillet over high heat and melt the butter. Place the skirt steak into the skillet and toss in the garlic cloves. Sear until desired doneness. 4 to 5 minutes on both sides will get you in the ballpark of medium-rare. When the meat is done, remove from the heat and let rest.

Meanwhile, begin dicing the vegetables and herbs for the salsa! When everything is diced, in a large bowl combine the red onions, mini heirloom tomatoes, mini bell peppers, cucumber, chopped cilantro, the lime zest and juice, olive oil, and salt to taste.

Slice the meat and serve with the salsa, jalapenos, goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, and endives. You can put the endive tacos together in advance to serve your guests, but I’m more about letting the guests serve themselves however they like.

We only had goat cheese in the house at the time, but you can use any type of cheese you prefer with your tacos. Same goes for any of the garnishes!

pan-seared salmon w/ oven-roasted asparagus

Looking for a quick and easy recipe on a Monday night? I’d recommend you give my pan-seared salmon with oven-roasted asparagus dinner a try! From the time you pop the asparagus into the oven, you can count on sitting down to a delicious dinner in under 30 minutes.

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Ingredients:

  • asparagus
  • salmon fillet
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • half a lemon, for serving, optional

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In the meantime, rub enough olive oil to coat each stalk of asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Line them in a single layer on a baking sheet and pop into the oven until cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.

While the asparagus is roasting in the oven, heat a pan over high heat. Season the salmon fillet on both sides with salt and pepper. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and sear the salmon (presentation side down first) on both sides until desired consistency. For me, about 4 minutes per side for a 1.5 inch salmon is perfect. Plate with half a lemon, optional for the asparagus, and enjoy!

chocolate flavored overnight oats

Good morning everyone! Now that the last major storm of Winter (fingers crossed) is over in NYC, I’m feeling super excited for Spring and the weather warming up – even if it does include a good amount of rain and worms coming out of the ground. Mornings for me just FEEL so much better waking up to hints of the sun’s rays beginning to light up the sky as opposed to dreary gray hues or darkness. Anyway, feeling a tad bit of sweet tooth last night, I put together this chocolate flavored overnight oats mix into the fridge for breakfast this morning. As far as toppings go, your pantry is your oyster 😛

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate powder
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup milk (can substitute milk alternatives such as soy, almond, etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly together in a bowl and let sit covered in a refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to eat, feel free to add any extra toppings! I topped mine off with some coined bananas and raw almonds.

spinach & mushroom quinoa

So when did Meatless Mondays become a thing? I’ve heard of it, and occasionally practiced it, but I never really knew where it originated from. Until today. After a quick research online, I’ve learned that Meatless Mondays was launched in 2003 by The Monday Campaigns; the non-profit group that is also credited with several other Healthy Monday initiatives such as Move It Monday – how cute! Anyway, as found on their website, the goal of Meatless Mondays is “to reduce meat consumption by 15% for our personal health and the health of the planet.” I can stand behind that!

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Ingredients:

  • tricolor quinoa
  • spinach
  • cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • shallot, finely diced
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • lemon, for juice (optional)
  • parmesan cheese, for grating (optional)

Directions:

  1. Rinse the quinoa and cook in a pot over the stove, 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, by bringing the water to a boil and then lowering to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the excess water has evaporated and the germs (the nutrient packed little white rings) are visible.
  2. When the quinoa is almost done cooking, start sweating the finely diced shallots in olive oil until translucent in a large pan.
  3. Add the cremini mushroom slices to the pan with the shallots, without overcrowding, and saute until browned. Turn off the heat.
  4. By now the quinoa should be done. Drop a large handful of spinach in a layer over the cooked mushrooms before scooping the cooked quinoa out of the pot and into the pan over the spinach. The residual heat from the mushrooms and the quinoa should wilt the spinach.
  5. Toss everything in the pan together, seasoning to taste with salt and an optional squeeze of lemon juice.
  6. I also grated in some parmesan cheese, but that’s just a personal preference. Feel free to tinker with the recipe as you wish!

black bean rotini fiesta

With the weather finally warming up again, I’m starting to think about my summer bod more and more. For me, this involves contemplating dusting off my running shoes and hitting the streets – yet to happen – and collecting all of my willpower to resist the sugar and butter cravings that I’ve been letting myself succumb to over the holidays. To fight the cravings, I’ve been filling up my grocery cart with fruits and vegetables to make me feel guilty about eating anything else when there’s plenty of good produce slowly deteriorating every day in my fridge. I think it’s working? Though what would I give for a cronut right now…

Anyways, out of curiosity, Phil and I had purchased a bag of organic, gluten free black bean rotini from Trader Joe’s that has been sitting on our pantry shelf for a few weeks now. I didn’t know what to do with it for a while, but seeing the peppers, tomatoes, and red onions in our fridge inspired me to put together a fiesta-themed dish because black beans –> Mexican food –> fiesta! At least that’s how my train of thought went.

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Ingredients:

  • black bean rotini
  • sausage or chorizo, coined
  • bell peppers, medium dice (the more colors the better!)
  • grape tomatoes, halved
  • jalapeños, small dice
  • red onion, diced
  • corn, cooked and off the cob
  • peas, cooked
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • any blend of cheese for topping

Directions:

  1. Cook the rotini as per the instructions on the package and drain when al dente. In the meantime, get your knife work done for all of the vegetables.
  2. Heat up some oil in a pan and lightly sear the sausage or chorizo.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the rotini, sausage or chorizo, bell peppers, grape tomatoes, jalapeños, red onions, corn, and peas with enough olive oil to lightly coat the rotini. Season to taste with salt while tossing.
  4. Top the black bean rotini fiesta mix with any blend of cheese to finish.
  5. Get your party on.