Mi Cocina Latina

Last night’s culinary creation combined one new recipe with two old ones I picked up while on the Whole30 for a tasty dinner with Latin flair.18516215_10159045122845221_1841648487_n

These chimichurri chicken drumsticks are, according to Greatist, one of Whole30 Co-founder Melissa Hartwig’s 11 favorite recipes. When I cook chicken it’s usually breasts, but these drumsticks, after marinating in chimichurri and spending the last few minutes in the oven under the broiler, simply can’t be beat. I use the chimichurri recipe from the Whole30 book, then cook the drumsticks at 375 degrees for about 55 minutes. Sounds scrumptious, right? But wait… there’s more! I use the Whole30 ranch for dipping! Melissa (Hartwig, keep up!) drizzles it over her chicken, but I found that unless I dunk my ‘sticks, the dressing slides right off. These are full of flavor, but I recommend saving some chimichurri and recoating the chicken if you plan to heat up leftovers; after a day in the fridge, the sauce kind of soaked in.
The new recipe I incorporated was plantain chips. I found this particular recipe on Pinterest. I tried two different seasoning combinations for comparison: salt and pepper and sweet and spicy. The recipe says to bake your thinly-sliced plantains at 400 degrees for 16 to 20 minutes, flipping them after eight. Since the chicken was in the oven, I used the toaster oven for these, and they took a little less time and a little more monitoring. After about 14 minutes, I had tasty chips as addictive as any you’d find in the store.
One plantain made about a serving and a half. Only problem is they did not store well. I kept them in a Tupperware container overnight and when I went to serve them tonight with my leftover chicken, they were no longer crisp or flavorful. I plan on making them again, but I’ll have to be hungry enough to eat a whole plaintain’s worth at once.
Overall, this was a meal I will make again. Even if Mom asks where the green vegetable was.
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Celebrating Two Weeks With… Chips and Pie?

Today marked two weeks since I started my Whole30, and it was notable for several reasons. Around the two-week mark is when most people doing a Whole30 start to feel the negative side effects subside, and when I woke up this morning I felt more refreshed than I have in a long time. Despite having difficulty falling asleep last night (thanks to a late afternoon coffee), the second my alarm went off at 6:45, I was alert and ready to start my day.

An even more fascinating phenomenon that occurred, and another that is common around this time for Whole30ers, is I had my first dream about off-limit foods! If I weren’t doing the Whole30 it would have been inconsequential. I dreamed I was eating Fritos and dunking them in assorted dips. It’s bizarre because I can’t even tell you the last time I ate Fritos (why choose Fritos over Cheetos?) and because my friend Taylor told me a few days ago that when she did her first Whole30 she dreamed about DORITOS, which she rarely eats! Anyhoo, I viewed this dream as a rite of passage, and I hope tonight brings something sickeningly sweet to my dream tummy.

My tummy IRL is happy because I made pie tonight… shepherd’s pie, that is. The recipe comes straight from the Whole30 book, but I’m going to repost it here. I can’t say I’ve eaten a lot of shepherd’s pie in my life, but I was drawn to this recipe because it’s a one-pot meal and because I haven’t yet used ground beef as my protein source on the Whole30.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and large-diced
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 4 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee (the ghee I used has coconut oil in it)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped (I plan to use two next time to double the vegetable count)
  • 1 pound ground meat (I used beef)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme (or use a sprig of fresh thyme, but I didn’t)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano (or use 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, but ditto)

 

Ok, I decided I’m not going to post the recipe because it’s a lot to type, and my “L” and period keys are broken. That being said, if you want the recipe or want to fix my broken keys, just comment below or send me a message.

 

 

 

 

 

We Need to Talk About Buns

We need to talk about buns. Not that kind of bun, and not the bread kind either. The Whole30 cookbook has recipes for buns made of mushroom caps and slices of eggplant and sweet potato.

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Photo of Buns Taken From the Book

Tonight I decided to try a sweet potato bun to complement my turkey burger. After all, when I make turkey burgers, which is pretty often, I tend to make oven-baked sweet potato fries as a side. So this wasn’t going to be a far cry from my pre-Whole30 go-to dinner.

I think I might’ve cut the sweet potato slices too thick. The recipe says to shoot for 1/2-inch, and mine were closer to 3/4-inch. So when they didn’t get soft after three to five minutes per side in olive oil, I wasn’t that surprised. I transferred my not-bun to the toaster oven, set it to 425 degrees and then made the turkey burger, and by the time that was done, my bun was soft! And once topped with meat and veggies (and a dollop of homemade mayo), it made for a BEAUTIFUL burger.

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Don’t hate me cuz I’m beautiful

And then this happened.

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I’m hideous! Don’t look at me!

Yes, after just a couple bites, my masterpiece fell apart. What’s the point of a burger if you have to eat it with a fork?! Where my Whole30 people at? Does this always happen? Is it me or my buns???

Day 4: Don’t Worry, I Won’t Kill You

You guys. The support I’ve gotten in my first four days on the Whole30 has been astounding. I am blown away by the kind words my family, friends and coworkers have offered me. I’m also surprised by how not difficult (notice I didn’t say “easy”) the past few days have been. I mean, the creators of the Whole30 said days two and three I’d probably have no energy and feel woozy. Sure, Tuesday morning I could barely squeak out two miles on the treadmill before taking a break (for comparison, I average around five miles on the treadmill when winter weather keeps me from running outside), and Tuesday afternoon a dull headache set in until bedtime, but not getting a good night’s sleep has had far worse effects. I read that the negative side effects Whole30ers experience in their first few days are directly proportional to how bad their diets were before the Whole30. So I guess I should feel encouraged.

Try to keep yourselves from rolling your eyes when I say this, but I feel as though I’ve gained more on the Whole30 so far than I’ve lost, and I’m not talking about weight. Not being able to just pour myself a bowl of cereal or bring a granola bar or a yogurt to work with me has forced me to get creative with my breakfasts. As you can see, I’ve eaten a lot of eggs and sweet potatoes, but no two meals have been exactly alike. Almost all my condiments have been homemade, and I’m using more fresh herbs that I’ve ever used before. The last nonscale victory I’d like to mention is that I didn’t kill anyone today! Ok, that one needs some explanation. The Whole30 timeline states that on days four and five, most participants have a burning desire to “kill all the things.” Not me though! I’m just a ray of sunshine!

And So it Begins…

Today was the first day of my new life. I’m all in. I’ve drank the Hartwigs’ Whole30 Kool-Aid, and I’m more than ready to comply with their rules for the next 30 days.

Look at all the yummy food I made for Day 1! I’m excited to spend more time in the kitchen in the coming weeks and plan to eat my way through the recipe section of the Whole30 book.

Speaking of my ravenous appetite, these meals were hearty enough to fill me up, but I still got hungry between meals. I didn’t allow myself any snacks though because Melissa and Dallas say that promotes a grazing lifestyle, which disrupts the eating cycle. I also started feeling tired around 3:30 or 4, but I don’t know if that has to do with the Whole30 or the fact that I didn’t have coffee today.

(Pumpkin) Spice up Your Life

I am obsessed with pumpkin spiced everything. It has nothing to do with being “basic,” as the kids say these days, or trendy; I just love the flavor. But what I’m sure many people don’t realize is how much sugar is typically added to beverages and store-bought foods that are pumpkin-flavored. Furthermore, more often than not, these items don’t contain real pumpkin. That’s why the moment I could feel fall in the air, I went in search of some healthy pumpkin spice recipes. I present to you. . . pumpkin spiced overnight oats two ways!

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The main difference between these two recipes is that one contains Greek yogurt for added protein and creaminess. I’ll start with that one (pictured on the right).

Pumpkin Pie Protein Overnight Oats

I adapted the recipe from http://amyshealthybaking.com/blog/2015/09/02/pumpkin-pie-protein-overnight-oats/.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (120g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup (122g) pumpkin purée
  • ¼ cup (25g) old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tbsp (12g) Truvia
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

The only change I made was using a packet of Sweet’N Low instead of the Truvia, simply because it’s what I had. All you do, as with any overnight oats recipes, is mix up all the ingredients in an airtight container with a lid and leave them in the fridge overnight.

Verdict

 

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Two paws up!

Because of the yogurt combined with the pumpkin, I found it very filling. It wasn’t very sweet, so next time I may try using vanilla Greek yogurt. Overall though, I liked it and will make again.

 

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

I adapted the recipe from http://rabbitfoodformybunnyteeth.com/pumpkin-pie-overnight-oats/.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ginger, and 1/8 tsp nutmeg)

I used regular skim milk because I don’t drink enough of it, fake maple syrup because it’s what I had and no chia seeds because they were too high on the shelf.

Verdict

Yum! I think this one may have been slightly sweeter, perhaps because there was no tart yogurt to take away from the pumpkininess. Because of the pumpkin pie spice, it also tasted more like pie than straight pumpkin. Would definitely make again!

So there you have it. Got other pumpkin spice recipes you think I’d enjoy? Please send them my way! I can keep eating this stuff till spring 😉

 

Spaghetti Squash Crusted Pizza

All hail the almighty spaghetti squash! Despite the fact that I needed a muscular man to help me slice open the massive fruit I picked out this time, I’m obsessed. And this recipe only added fuel to the fire of my obsession.

Other than the squash, you probably already have everything you need to make spaghetti squash pizza crust, which is GREAT. You’ll also need to gather your pizza toppings; I used Prego tomato sauce, a pizza cheese blend and chicken breast strips for protein.

Look how pretty it is!FullSizeRender

I’m not going to post the entire recipe here because I think you all know how to click on a hyperlink, but I will offer a few tips/warnings.

  1. For me, two cups of squash made a crust that was roughly nine inches in diameter. If you want a foot-long (or foot-round) like the recipe claims to make, I recommend using more spaghettified squash.
  2. Do NOT forget to spray whatever material will be touching the crust. I used foil but failed to spray and ended up having to scrape each bite from the aluminum. It was still delicious!
  3. The aforementioned muscley man remembered to spray but still could not eat his pizza without a fork. I think the fall apart nature of the crust might have something to do with not straining the squash enough before combining it with the other ingredients. Make sure you get as much squash liquid out as possible.

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Want to know a secret? This slice of pizza has a layer of aluminum foil stuck to the bottom of it.