Thursday, September 22, 2011

Healthy Food

My kids are always hungry, especially when they come home from school. Most days when they ask if they can have candy or cool off with a sugary popsicle I tell them yes if they first eat something healthy like a piece of fruit.

Our family's latest healthy after-school snack is milkshakes made with greek yogurt, a variety of tropical fruits and a handful of spinach. This treat provides protein so they feel full, it's cold so they cool off and it's loaded with healthy fruits and veggies. My kids LOVE my green milkshakes. Someday they'll realize that green isn't the most flavorful color when it comes to milkshakes but for now they're are blissfully happy.

I laughed so hard when I watched this mom serve her kids green milkshakes. I love all of the Kid History YouTube videos but this one with a mom trying to help her kids eat healthy foods hit home for me. Enjoy!    "I'm on top of the world lookin' down on creation..."

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillo Chile Sauce

Heaven on a plate. That's what I'm calling this meal. De-licious!

I have two tomatillo plants growing in my garden but I don't have a lot of experience cooking with tomatillos. I've made the fabulous tomatillo ranch salad dressing that I could drink straight if you asked me to. I also love green enchilada sauce and once I realized it was prepared with tomatillos I decided to try and make some myself. Well, once I made this recipe the very next morning I planted four more tomatillo seeds. If my plants grow like I hope they will I'll soon be roasting tomatillos, making this sauce and freezing it by the quart. I have never tasted green enchilada sauce with such flavor as this. Can I gush with praise any more? It's divine! 

Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillo Chile Sauce

Chile Sauce:
1 pound tomatillos, husked
1 white onion, peeled, sliced, quartered or whole
4 garlic cloves
2 jalapenos
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 lime, juiced

Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock, storebought
Chopped cilantro leaves
1 deli roasted chicken (about 3 pounds), boned, meat shredded
Freshly ground black pepper
10 large flour tortillas
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Chopped tomatoes and cilantro leaves, sour cream and guacamole for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For the Chile Sauce:
On a baking tray, roast tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapenos for 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the roasted vegetables and any juices on the bottom of the tray to a food processor. Add the cumin, salt, cilantro, and lime juice and pulse mixture until well combined but still chunky. (I loved the chunkiness of the sauce!)

For the Enchiladas:
Meanwhile heat a 2 count of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and caramelized - this should take 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin then cook for a further minute. Sprinkle on the flour and stir to ensure the flour doesn't burn then gradually add the chicken stock to make a veloute. Continue stirring over a low simmer until the flour cooks and the liquid thickens. Turn off the heat, add half of the roasted tomatillo chile salsa, some additional fresh chopped cilantro and fold in the shredded chicken meat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Change the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees F and begin assembling the dish. Take a large baking dish and smear the bottom with some of the reserved tomatillo salsa. Now take the flour tortillas and briefly flash them over the stove-top flame (or put them briefly under the broiler if using an electric stove). Using a shallow bowl, coat each tortilla lightly with the reserved salsa mix. Put a scoop of the shredded chicken-enchilada mix on top of the tortilla followed by a sprinkle of the shredded cheese. Fold the tortilla over the filling and roll like a cigar to enclose it. Using a spatula place the tortillas in the baking dish and continue to do the same with all the tortillas. Finally pour over some more of the salsa and top with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until bubbly and cracked on top. Garnish with cilantro, tomato, any remaining tomatillo salsa and sour cream and fresh guacamole if desired.

*My Notes: I roasted the tomatillos, onions and jalapenos for 20-25 minutes or until they began to lightly brown. I also used the requested chile sauce ingredient amounts but it was not enough sauce to pour into the pan, coat the tortillas, include in the chicken veloute AND pour on top of the enchiladas. Once I realized this I used a bit of canned green sauce to coat the pan and the tortillas but the rest of the sauce I used was the chunky fresh tomatillo salsa.

Who Dished it first? Tyler Florence. Thank you, my Spanish food inspiration!

Healthy Steps Tropical Fruit Popsicle

Kitchen tools for a healthier lifestyle

Don't we all want a healthier lifestyle? I sure do. Recently in an attempt to improve my eating habits and ultimately my health I began a food journal. My friend calls it our confession journal as we record all we eat and are now more aware of what we're eating as well as our portion sizes. ("Forgive me food journal for I have sinned. That chocolate cookie was too tempting.") What I like most about keeping a food journal is that I'm better at managing my portion sizes. Portion sizes. Now that's something we've all heard before.

How does all this talk of eating healthy and portion sizes tie in with this photo of tropical fruit and a funny looking kitchen gadget? I recently reviewed a few products sold by Healthy Steps including this fruit popsicle mold. Healthy Steps? That sounds like a weight loss step by step plan. No, it's more like a healthier lifestyle facilitated by kitchen gadgets.

The Healthy Steps website is a gold mine of information for those of you seeking to improve your eating habits. I found a link to the Healthy Steps YouTube channel where I watched a great video about food journaling (yay!) and their new dressing cruet. I want this! Too much salad dressing is a weakness of mine and using a cruet that measures the recommended 2 Tablespoon serving size would be fantastic! I also read their recipe selection and learned more about the benefits of eating avocados.  The avocado pro tool would be so handy in my kitchen especially with the avocado tree I have in my backyard.

The first words I heard after my daughter tasted her tropical fruit popsicle: "Mom! This is really good!" Our fruit pop was filled with fresh papaya, passion fruit and a sugar-free orange-mango fruit juice. What I liked about the popsicle mold was the push-up design where you push the handle up as you slowly eat the popsicle. We did have problems with juice leaking once the popsicle began to thaw but that just means you eat faster! Eating a fiber rich, low-sugar, fruit filled popsicle is a great healthy summer treat. I was also sent one of Healthy Steps portion control gadget, the shalt shaker. This is a great measuring dispenser for those who want to limit the amount of salt in their diet. Some of the other portion control gadgets I dream of owning are: starch server and the ice cream scoop.

To keep up on all the latest and greatest from Healthy Steps, follow them on Twitter, like their facebook page, and read their blog. I know I'm already making plans to follow Healthy Steps and learn new ways to improve my eating habits.

BUY: The Healthy Steps website lists retailers that sell their products. Check them out!

I was not compensated for this post. Any and all opinions here are mine.
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