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Monday Meals: Healthy Chicken Nuggets

It’s Monday Meals!

What makes these chicken nuggets extra healthy is that recipe has veggie puree (your choice) and flax seed meal (vitamin B, omega 3s, fiber, magnesium, manganese).

My nuggets came out a little dark looking because I used flax seed and not flax seed meal.  It really wasn’t that obvious that I used the seeds in stead of the meal, and they came out really good!  They were surprisingly easy to make.

I opted for sweet potato veggie puree, because I had it on hand.  The recipe:

Infused Chicken Nuggets

(serves 4)
Combine the following in a bowl/container:
  • 1 pound of chicken rinsed, dried, and cut into chunks.
Egg Batter (combine the following in a shallow bowl):
  • 1 cup veggie puree (broccoli, spinach, sweet potato, or beet)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Breading (combine the following in a shallow bowl):

  • 1 cup whole-wheat, white, or Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup flax seed meal
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: paprika, garlic, and onion powder
How to cook:
  1. Place the breadcrumb mixture and egg mixture next to each other.
  2. Turn a skillet on medium-high heat and coat with nonstick cooking spray.  When the skillet is hot add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Dip your chicken chunks into the egg batter first and then into the breadcrumbs making sure they are completely coated, then toss in the skillet and cook about 4-5 minutes each side till golden brown.  Check a piece by cutting it half and making sure the chicken is cooked all the way through (I check the thickest piece).
NOTE: you can spice your chicken with some salt if you want before adding it to the egg/breadcrumbs, but I didn’t add any and they came out great.  Also, I kept the breadcrumbs to the side and added a little at a time to a plate.  I only used about half the breadcrumb mixture this way, which means I was able to store the rest in the fridge for the next time I make them.  I served them with some steamed organic peas.
recipe adopted from Deceptively Delicious

Wouldn’t it be fun to have green (broccolli or spinach) or pink (beet) chicken nuggets!

I would love to figure out how to bake these instead of fry.  Frying doesn’t appeal to me as a mother and I think popping these in the oven seems easier.

Hope you enjoy!

ENJOY! ash

Monday Meals: Southern Fried Chicken

Dee's fried chicken and carrot slices

This weekend we made a true US comfort food (we’re so excited to head to Hong Kong this week and get some good old American food – fingers crossed!).  I used the recipe from Baker Bettie’s website.  I love her photos, and all the recipes I’ve tried so far have been great!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken from Thomas Keller


  • Two 2 1/2 to 3 pound chickens cut into 10 pieces
  • Chicken brine (see below)
  • Canola or Peanut Oil
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly group black pepper
    1. Cut each chicken into 10 pieces: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 4 breast quarters, and 2 wings.  Pour the brine into the container large enough to hold the chicken pieces, add the chicken and refrigerate for no longer than 12 hours. (To be honest, I boil my chicken pieces right before cooking in a similar brine recipe to below to make sure they are thoroughly cooked but it still keeps the chicken tender).
    2. Remove the chicken from the brine (discard the brine) and rinse under cold water, removing any herbs or spices sticking to the skin.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Let rest at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours, or until it come to room temperature.
    3. Fill the pot with at least 2 inches of oil and heat to 320 degrees F.  Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet.  Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.
    4. Meanwhile, combine all the coating ingredients in a large bowl (flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, kosher salt, and pepper). Transfer half the coating to a second bowl (or just keep it all in one bowl).  Pour the buttermilk into a third bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Set up a dipping station: the chicken pieces, one bowl of coating, the bowl of buttermilk (we didn’t have butter milk but beaten eggs with a little plain milk works great too!), the second bowl of coating, and the parchment-lined baking sheet.
    5. Make sure to set up two flour bowls on the kitchen floor or a low counter for your helper to dip things into as well (or just play with the flour and transfer from bowl to bowl). It’s a mess but Dee LOVES it so I think it’s worth the trouble.

      Dee working with her own flour bowls - what a mess!

    6. Just before frying, dip the dark meat pieces into the first bowl of coating, then into the buttermilk, allowing the excess to run back into the bowl; then dip into the second bowl of coating, and rest on the parchment. (The double coating is the key to get a really good breading! – I never knew this before yay knowledge!)

      Dip in the flour, then egg/buttermilk, then a second time in the flour. I use a spoon to help with coating the pieces in flour

    7. Carefully (more carefully than me) lower the pieces into the hot oil.  Fry for 11 to 12 minutes turning over half-way through, until the chicken is a deep golden brown, cooked through, and very crisp.  Allow to drain on a cooling rack, skin side up to let the fat drain off.

      Fry in the oil.

    8. Turn up the heat to 340 degrees F to cook the white meat.  Repeat the coating and frying process for the white meat.  Note that the white meat will cook faster.  Approximately 7 minutes for the breasts and 6 minutes for the wings.

My first piece didn’t cook at all which is why I just went to boiling all the pieces before hand and then frying only a couple minutes after that.  Can’t have Deester eating uncooked chicken – gross!   Plus, I boiled up some sliced carrots in the water after the chicken was done boiling.  This gave the carrots such a good taste and Dee loved them.

Chicken Brine
(I just use the ingredients and proportions for this recipe depending on how many pieces of chicken I’m making for our family we do about 1/5th)
  • 5 lemons, halved
  • 24 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1/2 cup clover honey
  • 1 head garlic, halved through the equator
  • 1/4 cup black peppercorns
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) kosher salt
  • 2 gallons water
Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt.  Remove from the heat and cool completely, then chill before using.  The brine can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. I (like I said before, instead of the days in the fridge I boil the chicken in the broth to make sure it’s completely cooked by the oil step).

Tah-dah! Piles of American nostalgia!

Don’t forget to clean up your (now floury-dust-covered little helper).

This is Dee's newest "cheese" now that she's understanding words!

I know that it must look like we’re the most unhealthy people eating all this fried food but I promise the rest of the times it’s rice and vegetables so we like to throw in some good ol’ American fatty food when we can :)


Monday Meals: Baked Chicken Taquitos

Taquitos! Who doesn't LOVE these?

I took today’s recipe from Very Culinary.  I had to alter them as I couldn’t get many of these things in China (I’ll go through the main recipe first and then tell you what I did!) but they turned out so good regardless . . . so use the recipe provided or do my quick and easy version.  Either way, I think you’ll be very happy with the results.


Baked Chicken Taquitos from Very Culinary
Makes 12 taquitos
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

• 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 cup salsa (green or red)
• 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
• 2 scallions, chopped
• 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
• 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
• 12 (6 inch) flour tortillas
• kosher salt
• cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 425?F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat matte or foil lightly coated with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients (except the tortillas.)

Working with a few tortillas at a time, heat them in the microwave between two paper towels until they are soft enough to roll (about 20 – 30 seconds) or if you’re like me and don’t have a microwave or paper towels . . . place tortillas on an steamer pan in a pot of boiling water to steam them for a couple of minutes.

Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture onto the lower third of a tortilla. Roll the tortilla as tightly as you can.  I sealed the tortilla with cream cheese at the edge (see my version below).

Place the rolled tortilla seam side down on the baking sheet (or in a pile if you intend to fry because there are NO ovens in China). Repeat with remaining tortillas until the mixture is gone, making sure the taquitos are not touching each other.  Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt (don’t skip the salt! – perform this step after frying if you fry).

Note: Try to keep anxious little hands from ruining your stack

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Serve with salsa, sour cream or guacamole (Yeah I WISH – I’m SO craving sour cream right now!!).


Baked Chicken Taquitos fromTumblewee (the Über quick version)

• 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 package of taco seasoning (we brought some from the US)
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
• 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
• 12 (6 inch) flour tortillas (you can also use corn if you prefer)
• kosher salt

• oil for frying


Boil chicken in a pot of water with some green chillies added if you want a little kick. Shred chicken and set aside.

Cook garlic and onion until onion is translucent. Add chicken, onion mix, cream cheese, and taco seasoning to large bowl and mix well.

Working with a few tortillas at a time, heat them on an steamer pan in a pot of boiling water to steam them for a couple of minutes.

Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture onto the lower third of a tortilla. Roll the tortilla as tightly as you can.  Seal the tortilla with cream cheese at the edge.  Set on plate in preparation for frying.

Heat oil in a flat frying pan (you want enough oil to cover the entire bottom of the pan about 1/4 inch).  Place two rolled taquitos seam side down in the oil once it is hot.  Fry until that side is crispy and brown.  Rotate with a fork until all sides are light brown in color.

Remove from oil onto paper towels (or strainer) and sprinkle with salt.  For me . . . please serve with salsa, sour cream or guacamole (I have to live vicariously through you guys while in China).

We loved them! But it’s possible that my tastebuds are a little biased as I haven’t had much American food lately!


Monday Meals: Green Chili Chicken enchiladas

Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Preheat oven to 350.  You’ll need a 9X13 inch baking casserole dish for baking the casserole, and a medium size pot for the sauce.

1/2 lbs. chicken
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch cilantro
1 12Oz mexican beer
2 cloves of garlic
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 tsp each- cayene powder, oregano, cumin powder
1 tsp each- salt & pepper
1 can family size cream of chicken soup (or two -three small- I bought these on sale at thanksgiving time)
6 oz. green chilis
18-corn tortillas
shredded cheese
Optional for serving: salsa, sour cream, or gaucamole

To make the sauce: pour the can of beer into a medium size sauce pan. Add the chicken, lime juice, salt, pepper, cayene, oregano, cumin, green chilis, garlic, and bring to boil.  Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through (till it flakes off). Pull out the chicken, put it into a glass bowl and into the fridge or freezer to cool while you finish the sauce.  Add the cream of chicken soup and bring it to a boil, stirring the entire time.  If the sauce seems too thick (about the thickness of gravy), add milk.  Turn heat down, and let the sauce simmer for about 5-10 mins, stirring the entire time.  Once sauce is ready, stir in 3 tablespoons of chopped green onions and 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro at the very end.  Remove sauce from heat.

Preparing the chicken: pull your chicken out of the freezer (it should be cool enough to touch) and shred.  If you do not want to want  shred your chicken by hand (or it’s too hot to touch), you can also take two forks, holding the chicken in place with one, and pulling chicken off with the other.

Layering the casserole: you’ll need your shredded chicken, corn tortillas, cheese, and sauce.  Pour about 2-3 cups of sauce into the bottom of the casserole dish till a thin layer covers bottom.  Stack 6 of the tortillas on top of the sauce (overlapping if needed).  Add half of the chicken and two-three handfuls of cheese on top of the tortillas.  Then add about 2-3 cups of sauce on top of the chicken and cheese. Place 6 more tortillas on top of this, then add chicken, cheese, and sauce just like you did previously.  Add your final layer of 6 tortillas, pour the remaing sauce and 2-3 handfulls of cheese on top of the final layer of tortillas.

Leave uncovered and bake for 45 mins on 350. Take out and let stand for 15 mins.  Serve with sour cream, salsa, or guacamole depending on your preferences (my husband doesn’t usually eat it with anything, I like salsa and sour cream).  I often serve with a cold mexican beer too!

Enjoy! ash

ps… after Christmas and Thanksgiving, I make this with left over turkey as well.

pps… I’m posting this today so you had a chance to read meg’s post yesterday!

Monday Meals: PART 2 of Beef Stew & French Dip Sandwiches

PART 2- French Dip Sandwiches

from last week’s dual meal

Last week I blogged about making beef stew and french dip sandwiches.  I showed you how to finish making the stew, but you should have held out part of the broth and meat for the french dip sandwiches (of course you should make these closer together rather than a week apart).  So here’s how i make the second part:

Pull out the beef broth (au jus) and beef that we set aside from the stew/french dip base.  If you need a reminder on how to make the base, here is the recipe.

This portion serves about 2-4 people, but i made a smaller batch for 2 people.

Here are the ingredients i used for the sandwicches:

  • beef & au jus
  • sub rolls
  • onion
  • bell pepper
  • provolone cheese

Take the beef out of the au jus and slice the beef.  Heat the Au jus in either a pot or microwave.  Slice up the bell pepper and onion.  Heat a skillet with some oil and saute the onion and bell pepper.

Once the bell pepper and onion are cooked to your liking, add a little water (about a tablespoon) and the beef, then cover and steam for a few minutes till the beef is warm.

Slice your sub rolls (I don’t slice all the way through, leave the back open like a hot dog bun), place the provolone, bell peppers, onion, and beef inside.  Place on a baking sheet and broil on low till cheese is melted and the roll is a little toasted.

Serve with the au jus sauce and your done!

Hope you like it! ash

Monday Meals: Beef Stew & French Dip Sandwiches

Beef Stew: Serves 2-4

& French Dip Sandwiches Next week

So today’s meal(s)- i’m trying to do two meals in one.  We’re making the meat and base for the french dip sandwishes that i will share with you next Monday.  With the meat and base, you will be making the stew meat and base at the same time.

This meal is for two people and one small person :) .  So if you have a larger family you will need to adjust the amount of ingredients.  Here are the base ingredients:

  • 1 lb of beef chuck roast (divided)
  • 4 carrots-chopped
  • 2 celery-chopped
  • 1-white onion – diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 10oz can of French Onion Soup
  • 1 10oz can of Beef Broth Soup
  • 1 Cup of Water

i used my crock pot, meat usually comes out pretty soft when cooked slow.  i turned the crock pot on high, added about two tablespoons of butter and the garlic, carrots, onion, celery, and the divided beef.  i cut the beef in parts, enough to make two french dip sandwiches, and the remaining I cubed for the stew.  Spice to taste.  Here are the spices I used (about 1/2 teaspon each):

  • salt & pepper- to taste
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • paprika
  • all spice
  • 1 tsp of worchestire sauce

Put it all in the bottom and stir.

Let it brown and sweat for about an hour, stirring occasionally.  This is about how long i felt was good based on my crock pot, but you may need to adjust the time depending on yours.

Once the meats are browned and veggies soft, add the beef broth, french onion soup, cup of water, and let it cook for another hour.

After the tastes have combined for an hour take out the large piece of beef that was not cubed, some broth (about a 1/3 of the broth) and set it in a glass dish to the side to cool and refrigerate for the french dips.

Mix 2 tablespoons of corn starch and 2 tablespoons of water together til combined then add to the crockpot and stir.  Chop 2-3 medium size potatoes and add to the crock pot with the stew and let it cook for another hour.

Taste before serving and season more if needed.  i dished out about 1/2 a cup for Jax and put in the blender with a little extra water (to water down the spices and cool it off a bit).  i also served ours with a roll.

Join us next week to see what we did to make the french dips.  What you’ll need:

  • 2 rolls
  • sliced provolone
  • the beef and aus jus from this post that was set aside.
  • onions, green peppers, or any other toppings you like with your french dips.

Hope you like it! ash

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