Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala Quinoa

We are big fans of Indian food so when I saw a recipe for homemade Tikka Masala curry paste in the new Jamie Oliver book, I thought I’d whip up a batch and then create a recipe to use it in. We think of curries as a treat meal as they are generally much higher in fat, and we like to moderate our fats during the week. However, this mid week friendly dish isn’t too heavy on the fat but heavy on that spicy Indian flavour. This baby is made in the slow cooker which makes it super easy to prepare. And although I made the curry paste myself, you could easily use any pre-made curry paste you like if you are looking for a little short cut πŸ˜‰ Ever wonder why we are always using quinoa in our recipes? Check out http://healthnfitnesshops.com/7-health-benefits-of-quinoa.html/ for a full run down of the health benefits of this super food! 

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala Quinoa (makes 8 servings):

Tikka Masala Paste (you will use the whole yield):

1 tsp cayenne peppers

2 tsp garam masala

1 tbsp smoked paprika

2 cloves garlic, peeled 

a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger root, peeled

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp peanut oil

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 jalapeno (or another green or red chili will work too)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tbsp almond flour (aka ground almond)

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1) Toast the cumin and coriander seeds on medium/high heat until golden brown. Using a pestle and mortar, grind until fine (if no pestle and mortar, this can be done using a small food processor). 

2) Once in a fine powder, whiz in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients until a paste forms. 

Rest of the Ingredients:

1000g chicken breast, cubed

1 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed

1 cup organic chicken stock

1 cup Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk

14oz of canned, diced tomatoes (that’s half a big can)

200g red pepper, in 1 inch pieces (1 large red pepper)

juice of 1 lime

1 yield of Tikka Masala Paste from above (you could use approx 6 tbsp of pre-made curry paste for a shortcut, but macros will change, and so will spice level so add progressively!)

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Greek Yogurt (optional)

1) Combine all the above ingredients up until the salt and pepper in a slow cooker (except for the red peppers) and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or until liquid is absorbed. Make sure you add the red peppers in half way through cooking time.

2) Add salt and pepper to taste. When you serve it up, sprinkle with cilantro and top with a dollop of plain greek yogurt if you like and enjoy this delish (and not too spicy) Indian Curry creation!

Macronutrient Breakdown (per serving):

Calories-440

Fat-18g

Carbohydrates-33g

Protein-36g

Cashew Chicken Curry

Sometimes I like to grab the free LCBO magazine when I’m in the liquor store to inspire us in the kitchen and get new recipe ideas. A few years ago I spotted this gem and made it for Jon and myself. It’s a Cashew Chicken Curry made with chicken thighs, roasted cashews and fragrant spices. It’s quite easy to make too, as most of the work is done in the food processor and 1 single pan. Big on rich nutty, spicy flavour, good fats and diet friendly too! 

Cashew Chicken Curry (serves 6):
175g roasted salted cashews

β…“ cup (75 mL) 2% plain greek yogurt
ΒΌ cup (60 mL) roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped peeled fresh ginger root
1 tbsp (15 mL) mild or hot curry paste (we used Thai yellow curry paste but you could use red too)
1 tbsp (15 mL) light brown sugar
Β½ tsp (2 mL) each salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp (15 mL) coconut oil
2 lb (1 kg) chicken thighs, 8 pieces
Β½ cup (125 mL) chicken broth
Steamed basmati rice (1/2 cup serving would suffice)
Garnish with chopped roasted cashews and parsley

1) In a food processor, blend the cashews until finely chopped. Add the yogurt, cilantro, ginger, curry paste, sugar, salt and pepper and process until smooth. 


2) In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken thighs until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Scrape cashew mixture over chicken and add broth. Stir until blended. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through (about 15 minutes). Let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Serve over steamed basmati rice and garnish with chopped roasted cashews and cilantro.

Macronutrient Breakdown (per serving):
Calories-279
Fat-14g
Carbohydrates-6g
Protein-33g

Pico De Gallo

One thing I love when it comes to Mexican food is Pico De Gallo. This fresh tomato salsa is so simple yet can add such amazing (low cal) flavour to so many foods! From tacos to fajitas, to egg whites and chicken, it’s an easy flavour packer. So I thought, why not whip up a batch to have in the fridge so I can add some delicious Mexican flavour to our meals over the next week?! It turned out great and may just become a staple in this house!

Pico De Gallo (makes 2 cups or 8 x 1/4 cup serving):

2 cups of fresh, diced tomatoes (ripe but firm are best)

1/2 jalapeno chili, chopped finely (remove the seeds if you like less spice) 1/4 cup red onion, chopped finely 

2 garlic cloves, minced 

1/4 cup of chopped cilantro

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Sea salt and pepper to taste 

1/2 tsp of sugar 

1) Dice the tomatoes and put them into a colander to drain over a bowl for 30 mins. After 30 mins add the onion, jalapeno and garlic into the tomato mix and let sit another 30 mins to drain. 

2) Once drained, throw all ingredients including the juice of the lime and the cilantro into a bowl. Mix to combine, season with sea salt and pepper and 1/2 tsp of sugar. Taste to make sure the seasoning is to your likening and adjust if needed. Its now ready to enjoy (but gets better sitting in the fridge over a few hours or days!)

Macronutrient Breakdown (per 1/4 cup serving):

Calories-13

Fat-0g

Carbohydrates-3g

Protein-1g

Sweet Potato Nachos

Jon and I are officially on a 4 week macro tracking diet prior to going to the Dominican in April. We like to be in great condition before hitting the beach so we can relax and enjoy ourselves without having to feel crappy when we come home (from the abundance of pina coladas of course)! So that means no more wine on a Friday night πŸ™ What this also means is I like to be creative with our Friday night meal so we have something a little exciting to look forward to! So this past Friday we made these Sweet Potato Nachos topped with high protein ingredients like pulled chicken and black beans, and sprinkled with some tasty toppings like corn, Pico De Gallo, avocado lime drizzle and a little cheese (I mean you can’t have nachos without cheese!) This recipe is even easier if you already have some pulled meat left over from one of our other recipes. A little treat without the cheat!

Mexican Pulled Chicken:

1lb chicken breast, boneless skinless

juice of 1/2 a lime

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 clove garlic

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp chili powder

salt and pepper (pinch of each)

Sweet Potato Base:

1lb sweet potato (mandolin it into thin slices 1/8″ thick)

sea salt and pepper (pinch of each)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp olive oil 

Toppings:

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup corn

1/2 cup salsa

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup shredded cheese

1/4 cup green onion

1/8 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup avocado

juice of half a lime

1/4 cup Pico De Gallo (see recipe in our blog)

1) For the pulled chicken, put the chicken breasts in the slow cooker, top with lime juice then rub the garlic and seasoning (which has been premixed) all over the chicken. Place the breasts back in the slow cooker and pour the chicken broth over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours. Cool, shred, then add a little bit of the liquid back into the chicken to keep it moist. Set aside.

2) After slicing the sweet potato with a mandolin to 1/8″ thickness, toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Set a baking rack (slightly greased with coconut oil) on top of a baking tray lines with parchment or aluminum foil then line the sweet potato rounds on the baking rack to bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 mins or until the sides start to crisp (watch so you don’t burn them!). Let them cool slightly. On the parchment lined baking tray, set the sweet potato slices slightly overlapped, like you would for nachos with nacho chips. Layer with pulled chicken and all toppings (up until the yogurt). Bake for 5 mins or until the mixture is heated through and cheese melted. 

3) Combine the yogurt with the avocado and lime juice in a food processor (or if you don’t have one mash together well) to make an avocado drizzle. Once you take out the nachos, top with Pico De Gallo and avo drizzle (we made a piping bag out of a ziplock to drizzle) and enjoy! This makes 4 large portions. 

Macronutrient Breakdown (per serving, makes 4 servings):

Calories-479

Fat-20g

Carbohydrates-36g

Protein-39g

Korean Beef

A client of mine made a Korean Beef recipe and was telling me how great it was the other day. She sent the recipe my way and Jon and I whipped it up after a very long day at a work event. We were pressed for time and exhausted, but this recipe took no more than 30 minutes from start to finish! We made a few changes in order to reduce the sugar and sodium though..It’s from sixsistersstuff.com so big shout out to them as well as to my client Mel for sharing πŸ™‚

Korean Beef (makes 6 servings):
1000g extra lean ground beef
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon crushed red peppers (depending on how spicy you like it)
salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp of corn starch

1 tsp of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
1 cup green onions, diced
Steamed rice (not included in macros)
Stir fry veggies or broccoli (not included in macros)

1) Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown the beef with garlic in the sesame oil. Drain most of the fat and add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper and red peppers. Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Sprinkle with corn starch to thicken the sauce slightly then add Sriracha to taste (add more if you like it spicy). Serve over steamed rice, with a side of stir fried or steamed vegetables and top with green onions…then enjoy!

Macronutrient Breakdown (per serving):
Calories-348
Fat-19g
Carbohydrates-7g
Protein-34g

Tomato Basil Baked Chicken Thighs

Let’s be honest, chicken breasts can get boring. But eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. We mixed up our weekly chicken dish by incorporating some homemade tomato sauce, basil and used chicken thighs instead of breasts (although you could use either). The meat is baked in a rich tomato mixture and topped with a little cheese (our big splurge). The mini potatoes really made the dish a hearty dish that works great as a lunch or post workout refuel. Enjoyed with a side of asparagus (don’t forget your greens people!)

Tomato Basil Baked Chicken Thighs (makes 8 servings):

1400g boneless, skinless chicken thighs

800g of mini yellow potatoes (cut into 1″ pieces)

3 cups of chopped mushrooms

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups of JMTraining’s marinara sauce (see blog post on the previous page)

a bunch of fresh basil leaves (about 1/4 cup)

1/2 cup of shredded cheddar (we used old white)

1) Preheat your oven to 375ΒΊC. Brown the chicken in a frying pan with 1 tbsp of oil heated over medium high heat. Once browned, place in a casserole dish, top with chopped mushrooms, then the tomato sauce and sprinkle with 1/2 the basil leaves. 

2) Place the dish in the oven and cook for 20 mins. Sprinkle with cheese for 5 more minutes or until melted. Boil the baby potatoes until tender then drain. 

3) Serve 100g of the potatoes with a serving of the chicken on top of them. Equally distribute the extra sauce over top and finish by sprinkling the other half of the basil. Enjoy with a side of roasted asparagus like we did for a deliciously balanced meal πŸ™‚

Macronutrient Breakdown (per serving):

Calories-325

Fat-10g

Carbohydrates-23g

Protein-39g

JMTraining Marinara Sauce

Store bought marinara sauce can be packed with nasty ingredients and loaded up on sugar and is a great example of a food you can easily make at home. Ours takes a mere 30 mins to make (but of course the longer a sauce cooks the better it taste!). And it’s worth it to avoid all that glucose-fructose syrup and preservatives. Feel free to freeze it (it gets better with age!)

JMTraining Marinara Sauce (makes 24 x 1/4 cup servings):

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbsp of sugar

28oz of canned, diced tomatoes

28oz of canned, crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp basil

1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

water

1) Saute the onions and garlic  in the 1 tsp of olive oil (over medium high heat) until softened and slightly browned. 

2) Add in the canned tomatoes, herbs some salt and pepper (to your liking) and 1 tbsp of sugar. Combine then turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 mins (adding water if you want the sauce a little thinner or plan to simmer it longer and it starts to get too thick).

Macronutrient Breakdown (per 1/4 cup serving):

Calories-25

Fat-0g

Carbohydrates-5g

Protein-1g

Sugar-3g

Crockpot Butter Chicken

Anyone who knows us will know we can be found on our treat day at Diwa Indian Restaurant here in Guelph. We LOVE Indian food so I decided, let’s try to make a curry dish that we can have during the week that sticks with the healthy, clean eating plan. So here’s what I’ve come up with. A butter/cream-less butter chicken made in the crockpot that tastes amazing (if I do say so myself)! Give it a try mid week for a nice spicy shake up!

Crockpot Butter Chicken (makes 6 large servings):

3lb of boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 onions, minced

1 inch of fresh ginger, minced

2 tbsp garam masala

1 tsp chili powder

1 tbsp curry powder

3 tbsp premade ground butter chicken spice mix (found at the Indian store here in Guelph at the plaza at Speedvale and the Hanlon)

a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper

small can of tomato paste (6 oz)

14 oz can of AROY-D coconut milk (light works here too and macros would change)

1/4 cup of cilantro

1 tsp coconut oil

1) Stir fry the onions, garlic and ginger in a saute pan with 1 tsp coconut oil for 5 mins or until softened. Add all spices, salt, pepper, tomato paste, coconut milk and stir to combine. If it needs to be thickened at all use some flour. We found it was thick enough without. 

2) Pour mixture into the crockpot and add in the chicken. Stir to coat the chicken then cook for 4 hours on low or 2 hours on high. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick. 

3) Serve on top of some basmati rice (100g cooked portion), top with chopped cilantro (and chili flakes if you’re Jon) and a side of greens of your choice (we wilted in some spinach but bok choy or broccoli works too! 

Macronutrient Breakdown (per serving):

Calories-435

Fat-12g

Carbs-14g

Protein-49g

Beef Sliders on Sweet Potato ‘Buns’

I’m not sure I have ever met anyone who doesn’t love a burger. So this week we thought, why not some mid week sliders?! We keep the fat low by using extra lean ground beef and were able to avoid the bloat inducing wheat by making sweet potato slices we used as buns. It’s all about being creative in our kitchen! Top these sliders with your favourite veggies and dijon mustard/salsa for a great meal at home this week πŸ˜‰

Beef Sliders on Sweet Potato ‘Buns’ (makes 8 servings, 2 mini sliders per serving):

1600g extra lean beef

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbsp of dijon mustard

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp coriander

2 tbsp parsley (fresh or dried works here)

1 tbsp smoked paprika

a generous pinch of sea salt 

a generous pinchblack pepper

1000g of sweet potato, sliced into 3/4″ rounds

1 tomato, sliced

1 cup of lettuce leaves

1) Combine the beef, onion, garlic, all spices/herbs and dijon mustard together until well combined. Form into patties 2 inches in diameter. Now grill these on the bbq until cooked or you can bake them at 375 degrees (place on a rack placed on a baking tray) for about 12-15 mins or until cooked through. 

2) Using a rack placed over a baking tray, line the sweet potato rounds slightly apart and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in a 400 degree over for about 40mins or until cooked through (or bbq if you have one for even better flavour). 

3) Once everything is cooked, place the sweet potato on the plate first, then slider on top, then top with a slice of tomato, lettuce and any condiments you like (not included in macros, go for low fat, all natural options). Serve with a side salad like the kale one we had here and enjoy! A soon to be summer classic πŸ™‚

Macronutrient Breakdown (per serving):

Calories-388

Fat-8g

Carbohydrates-28g

Protein-47g

Supreme Stuffed Peppers with Turkey and Sage

Let’s be real, sometimes we get a little sick of chicken breasts but want to make sure the protein we are choosing is lean. So tonight we are working with extra lean ground turkey instead! The combination of rice, turkey, tomato, herbs and spices jam packed into some halved peppers, makes it a serious winner. Sometimes I’m not sure if a new recipe is going to fly with Jon but this one is apparently one of his new faves! So get crazy and stuff some peppers tonight πŸ˜‰

Supreme Stuffed Peppers w Turkey and Sage (makes 6 servings, 1 pepper=1 serving):

6 peppers, halved and seeds removed

2lb of extra lean ground turkey

1 cup of onions, diced

3 cloves of garlic, diced

1 cup of jasmine rice (rinsed)

1 tbsp of sage

2 tbsp of smoked paprika

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp coriander

14 oz of crushed tomatoes (1/2 a large can)

2 tbsp sriracha (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)

salt and pepper to taste

3 tsp coconut oil

fresh parsley (optional)

1) Set the peppers in a casserole dish greased with 1 tsp coconut oil and bake for 15 mins at 350 degrees or until they start to soften slightly. Take out and set aside. 

2) Bring 2 cups of water to a boil then add the rinsed rice. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 mins or until all water is absorbed and rice is cooked. Set aside. 

3) Using the remaining coconut oil, saute the onion and garlic in a large pan over medium high heat for about 5 mins or until they start to soften. Add in the ground turkey and cook with the spices until no longer pink. Add in the crushed tomato, sriracha and salt and pepper to taste. 

4) Add the cooked rice into the meat mixture, combining thoroughly. Feel free to add any more spices/herbs you may like to make it as spicy/flavourful as you like. Stuff the par cooked peppers as packed as you can with the rice/meat mixture. Put the casserole dish of peppers back into the oven and bake until the peppers are cooked through but not too soft (about 15 mins). Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy!

Macronutrient Breakdown (for 1 whole pepper or 1 serving):

Calories-386

Fat-6g

Carbohydrates-44g

Protein-40g