Crockpot Roasted Chicken

Well, I’m back.  Obviously, I’ve taken time off, from blogging & from trying out new recipes.  My health isn’t the greatest, although it had been improving, so I’ve been kind of distracted. I had a Crohn’s flare up & surgery on my deviated septum, plus my normal  dose of not feeling good.  But- I have been cooking some. And resting a lot.  I definitely don’t feel great, but I think having something to focus on will help.  So blogging, cooking and photography will be priorities, even if I have to force it.

Anyways, I thought my first recipe of 2013 should be comfort food.  After the holidays, it’s hard to put a lot of effort into meal planning & preparation, so here’s my solution: a whole chicken roasted in a crockpot.  At my local Albertson’s grocery store, a whole chicken is usually $1.09/lb.  That means this main dish is fairly cheap, easy to prepare, AND super tasty.  I recently served it to 4 adults for dinner, with enough leftovers for 2 lunches.

Crockpot Roasted Chicken

Slightly adapted from Budget Savvy Diva

crockpot roasted chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole roasting chicken
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  • If your chicken comes with “extra” pieces in the abdominal cavity, make sure to remove them first
  • Mix all the spices together in a bowl; rub spice mixture onto the chicken
  • Cook chicken on high for 4-5 hours.  Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.  The chicken will make its own juices & fall off the bone when done.

How To Roast Nuts

In my attempt to eat healthier, I found that I didn’t have a good supply of easy snacks.  Raw fruits & veggies are great, but I have a hard time digesting them in larger quantities.  And sometimes I just don’t want to cut up produce- I want something to eat now.

My wonderful physical therapy assistant gave me lots of good ideas, including roasting nuts at home.  I was skeptical (but I looked super positive compared to Cody’s reaction), but they turned out really good.  I can definitely taste the difference in flavor, but Cody claimed he couldn’t tell the difference between the roasted almonds & raw almonds… but when I made him eat one of each in a row, he admitted he could tasted the roasting (of course, that could have just been to shut me up).

Roasted Nuts

from Down To Earth Nutrition

Directions:

  • Place any type of raw nut in a bowl; cover with water & add a splash of vinegar
  • Let soak for 7 hours
  • Roast at 150 for 12 hours

Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I’m still searching for the perfect sweet potato recipe.  This recipe turned out pretty well, after I added butter… but leave the butter out if you’re eating Paleo.  I couldn’t eat this every week, but on occasion it’s definitely worth keeping in the rotation.

Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Slightly adapted from Paleo Effect

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, skinned & diced into 1/2 inch cubes (skin them. the skins are gross)
  • 2 tb olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 c milk
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tb butter, softened

Directions:

  • Toss the sweet potatoes with garlic, olive oil, sea salt, & pepper.
  • Spread on a baking sheet & bake at 400 for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are very soft.  Shake once or twice to rotate.
  • When the sweet potatoes are done, put them in a bowl with milk, lemon juice & butter.  Mash all ingredients together until desired consistency is reached.
  • Add additional salt & pepper to taste.

Shrimp & Sweet Pepper Saute

Today, we got a lot of peppers in our Basket… like over 30!  Luckily for my sensitive stomach, they were mostly sweet peppers; but that meant I had no idea what to make with them.

I found a good looking recipe for shrimp linguini… but that involves pasta.  So I upped the amount of sweet peppers (by a lot) & left out the pasta all together.  And it tasted great!  If you’re eating Paleo, this would probably be a good breakfast option too.

Shrimp & Sweet Pepper Saute

Adapted from All Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 to 1/4 c olive oil (adjust based on your tastes)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb cooked shrimp, de-veined & de-tailed (you know what I mean…)
  • 15-20 small sweet peppers, sliced into 3/4 inch strips
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Rinse the shrimp in cool water.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic, shrimp, sweet peppers, and onion.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  • Saute until onion & peppers are soft.

Breakfast Smoothies

I start work at 7 am.  That means I have to leave at 6:30.  And I need all the sleep I can get.  So… I came up with a brilliant plan that allows me to sleep in until 5:30!

Now, I make a smoothie for breakfast & drink it on my drive to work… no more time wasted cooking breakfast 🙂 I’ve also been reading Wheat Belly by William Davis- he claims that wheat actually stimulates your appetite & causes your blood sugar to rise quickly, then crash… that’s why you get hungry only a few hours after eating.  I don’t know if I believe everything in the book, but it does make sense.  And these smoothies keep me full until 10:30 or 11:00, instead of 9:00 or 9:30.  So I’m happy with my new breakfast routine.

For more great smoothie recipes, check out Incredible Smoothies.  Or, just follow my formula for deliciousness!

Breakfast Smoothies

The basics:

  • 2 cups of spinach leaves (I usually just grab 2 big handfuls, I buy a 5 pound bag at Costco)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of liquid (I use water to avoid dairy, Cody uses milk or orange juice)

The fruit (choose 2):

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (or other berries)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple
  • 1 orange
  • 5-6 strawberries

The optionals (I add both of these):

  • 1/8 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/8 cup (or 1/2 scoop) protein powder

Put your ingredients in a blender & make a smoothie!  I put the spinach in first, then the fruit- it seems to blend better that way.  I put everything, except spinach & water, in a plastic shaker thing the night before.  In the morning, I just dump it in the blender, so it probably takes 3 minutes to make breakfast. I shake the water in the shaker first, to get the rest of the protein powder & flaxseed out, then dump it into the blender. I then put the smoothie into the same shaker & head out the door.

 

Paleo Oat-less Oatmeal

Paleo breakfasts… scare me.  Really, WTF am I supposed to eat that doesn’t have any kind of grain in it, is dairy free, and is lean but full of protein?  I was fine with a bowl of Chex, or a bowl of oatmeal (although oatmeal bothers my stomach now), or  bacon & eggs.  But… not allowed.

So I was SUPER excited to find this recipe.  I totally let my enthusiasm overwhelm my skepticism- oat-less oatmeal?  Really?  Yes, really- it tastes like oatmeal!  Just make sure you use a non-stick pan, or a ton of cooking spray, because it really coats the pan.

This makes 2 servings, and it’s actually pretty filling, especially if you use whole eggs.

Oat-less “Oatmeal”

From Carrots ‘n’ Cake & Paleo Plan

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c liquid egg whites, or 3 egg whites, or 3 whole eggs
  • 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 c chopped pecans
  • 2 tb ground flaxseed
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Whisk together egg whites & almond milk.
  • Stir in walnuts, pecans, ground flax, banana, vanilla extract, and cinnamon; blend well.
  • In a medium saucepan, warm the mixture on the stove, stirring frequently, until the “oatmeal” reaches the desired consistency (only a few minutes)
  • Top with berries, nut butter, seeds, or whatever you’d like
  • I only had whole walnuts, so I put them in a baggie & smashed them with a hammer to get them small enough.

Menu: February 5-11, 2012

Sunday: Super Bowl food- bread sticks, little Smokies in BBQ sauce, potato skins

Monday: Tomato-Basil Parmesan soup (yep, planning to make it again… hopefully I’ll stick to the menu plan this week)

Tuesday: Fajitas

Wednesday: Stuffed bell peppers & steamed broccoli

Thursday: Herbed roast beef & “best” broccoli

Friday: Paleo chicken almond salad with tomato dressing

Saturday: heading to the in-laws’ probably

Also, this week I’m going to attempt to make some kind of bell pepper hummus, to use as dip for all that celery we have…