Tag Archives: garlic

Spicy Garlic Chicken Nachos

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My husband and I used to eat out fairly often, and it made me so sick. (You can read more about my journey with IBS and food here) I would have unexplained (well, what I thought was unexplained) vomiting and diarrhea about two or three times a month, yet kept going back to the convenience of fast food and staying sick. Now that I avoid processed foods and eat cleaner, I hardly ever have any IBS symptoms! Feeling (and staying!) healthy and having plentiful energy is well worth the time I spend in the kitchen!

But let’s be honest…sometimes you just need a junk food fix. When we used to eat out, we would often go get chicken wings, and my favorite flavor was Spicy Garlic. Yum! One of my favorite things to do is re-make junk food classics into a healthier version – eating healthy doesn’t have to be tasteless and boring! So I created a spicy garlic chicken, decided to top some crispy potato rounds with it, and there you have it – Spicy Garlic Chicken Nachos! Serve these as an appetizer, or a big plate full for a delicious, albeit messy, dinner. Enjoy!

Spicy Garlic Chicken Nachos

Serves 6.

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 2 lbs of dark meat chicken, boneless and skinless
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 bulbs of garlic, roasted
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise (get my homemade version here)

For the nachos:

  • 4 medium potatoes (sweet, russet, or a combo) sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Toppings:

  • Salsa or hot sauce
  • Guacamole
  • Pickled banana peppers or jalapenos
  • A drizzle of ranch (get my homemade version here)
  • Chopped scallions or cilantro

Directions:

  • Place chicken, seasonings, and apple cider vinegar in your slow cooker
  • Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours
  • While chicken is cooking, roast your garlic
    • Slice the end off of the garlic bulb, drizzle with olive oil
    • Wrap in foil, then roast in a 425 F oven for 45 minutes
  • During the last hour your chicken is cooking, bake your potato rounds
    • Simply lay the rounds out evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet
    • Season with salt
    • Bake for 30 minutes in a 425 F oven
    • Broil for 1 to 2 minutes to get more crispiness
  • Once chicken is done, shred the meat
  • Add garlic (just squeeze it out) and mayonnaise
  • Stir to combine
  • Let the chicken mixture cook for about another 30 minutes on low
  • Place “nachos” on a plate or tray, top with meat mixture, then desired toppings
  • Store leftovers separate, covered, in the fridge
    • The leftover meat is also delicious stuffed in a baked potato, or with brown rice!

For more made-over junk food recipes, check out my Oven Baked FriesBBQ Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Potatoes, or Slow Cooker Potato and Kale Soup. Pretty much all of my dessert recipes are healthier versions of classics – mama needs sweets – but my current favorites are my Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter CupsWholesome Chocolate Chunk Cookies (my most viewed recipe!), and No Bake Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust. I also recently posted Flax and Oat Pancakes; a made-over breakfast staple. I am sure you can find something to help you get your junk food fix – whether it is sweet or savory! Eat healthy foods that taste good…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no cost to you, just a small commission for me to help me stock my pantry and keep the recipes coming. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Ghee, Garlic, and Herb Turkey with Gravy

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Golly Ghee!

Before my first round of Whole30, I had never heard of ghee, and wasn’t even sure how to pronounce it. I’m nearly 100% certain that it rhymes with “key”, but my mom, because of her Armenian heritage, adds a guttural sound to it. Either way, I have now learned of the many health benefits of ghee! Ghee is butter that is heated to separate the milk solids; it aids in digestion while reducing inflammation, has plenty of healthy fats, and helps with weight loss. All while giving a buttery, yet nutty and toasty flavor!

So for the centerpiece of your Christmas dinner, I have a delicious turkey recipe for you, starring ghee! It is rubbed with plenty of ghee; it’s higher smoke point helps keep the bird moist without burning the skin, garlic and rosemary for a delicious herbaceous flavor, and lemon, and *surprise!* grapefruit for a citrus-y punch. It seems complicated written down, but I will include some helpful pictures of what it looked like before it went in the oven, and it honestly isn’t complicated at all; no need to be scared of a little turkey! I was babysitting my nephew on the day I made this turkey; both babes were napping at the same time, and I had this turkey cleaned, seasoned, stuffed, in the oven, and dishes washed in about an hour! It is a simple recipe that produces such a flavorful, buttery, moist turkey with perfectly crispy skin…and the gravy it makes is out of this world! Is your mouth watering, or is it just me? Let’s get to the recipe!

Ghee, Garlic, and Herb Turkey with Gravy

Recipe is for a 12-14 pound turkey; if your bird is larger or smaller, adjust accordingly.

Ingredients:

  • One 12-14 pound turkey
  • 1.5 cups of ghee, at room temperature
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves chopped finely, plus 4 additional sprigs for stuffing
  • 2 tsp of dried thyme leaves (ours froze in the garden, but I would say about 4 tsp of chopped fresh if you have it)
  • One lemon, halved, for stuffing and for zest
  • 1/2 of one large grapefruit, halved and peeled
  • About 1 tbsp of salt
  • About 1 tbsp of black pepper
  • For the gravy:
    • 1/2-1 cup of water
    • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 F
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine ghee, garlic, chopped rosemary, chopped or dry thyme leaves, and lemon zest
  • Clean out turkey cavity by removing the neck and giblets, trimming off any excess fat, and drying inside and out with a paper towel
  • Season liberally inside and out with salt and pepper
  • Rub about 2/3 of the ghee mixture under the skin as you can
    • you will need to slightly (and gently!) separate the skin from the meat
    • be sure to rub the ghee mixture on the breast, but also down on the legs
  • With remaining ghee mixture, rub all over the top of the turkey
  • Stuff the cavity with lemon, grapefruit, and remaining sprigs of rosemary
  • Position turkey on roasting rack with wing tips facing up
  • Tie the ends of the legs together with twine
  • Bake for 2.5 to 3 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 165 F
  • Move turkey to platter to rest and make gravy
  • Pour turkey drippings into a deep pan
  • On medium heat, heat the drippings until just starting to bubble
  • Lower heat, and add water and potato flour
  • Whisk until thick and well combined, season to taste with salt and pepper
  • Add more water for a thinner gravy and more flour for a thicker gravy
  • Slice turkey and serve with gravy
  • Store leftovers covered in the fridge for 5-7 days

I have a beautiful red and green Christmas-y side dish coming in a few days, but if you are dying to try this recipe out (I won’t complain about that!), I have my Roasted Potatoes or Creamy Whole30 Mashed Potatoes, as well as Crispy Brussels Sprouts for side dish ideas! My Creamy Tomato Basil Soup would make a great appetizer, and my Classic Garlic Hummus with veggie sticks would be a great hors d’oeuvre…just sayin’ 😉 I also have many desserts to choose from, including some Christmas-y classics, like Two Layer Paleo FudgeMolasses Cookies, and Death by Hot Chocolate or Slow Cooker Apple Cider to go with dessert. I’d love to hear what your menu looks like for Christmas Day; let me know! No matter what you end up making, I hope you enjoy celebrating with loved ones. Remember the Reason for the season…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small pantry fund for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Sheet Pan Salmon

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small pantry fund for me!

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A Birthday Surprise

My birthday was a little over a week ago, and honestly, ever since 21 birthdays are kindaaa depressing, tend to sneak up on me, and pass by quickly without much fuss. However, there is always good food and some form of cake which makes me feel better about the fact that I’m getting older! My sweet husband made me a delicious paleo pie, and I cooked something we don’t often eat. Salmon.

I am the only fish eater in the family, and we don’t buy it often because of the price (I talk budget in this post), but since it was my birthday… TREAT YO SELF! I didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen on my birthday, so I made a sheet pan dinner, because, again… TREAT YO SELF! Less time cooking, less time cleaning, more time eating and enjoying!

Since I’m the only fish eater, I was expecting David to eat mostly vegetables, and for Zemirah to spit it out and/or gag, but my biggest surprise that night, even more than my gifts, was that they both liked it! David said, “mmm that’s really good”; I’ve never gotten a “really” from him when I’ve made fish in the past. AND HE HAD SECONDS! I counted that victory enough, but when our 20-month-old happily ate her salmon, that was the the cherry on top. Happy birthday to me!

So, if you or someone in your family is a fish hater, try this recipe with them. Fresh salmon, covered in ghee, garlic, and herbs, along with some crispy roasted vegetables, is sure to please anyone! And a one pan clean up is sure to please the dish washer 😉 TREAT YO SELF!

Sheet Pan Salmon

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:

For the vegetables:

  • 1.5 lbs of brussels sprouts and asparagus, brussles halved lengthwise, and asparagus chopped into fourths
  • Four large red potatoes, cut into one inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dill weed

For the salmon:

  • One large filet, about 1.5 pounds
  • 1 tbsp ghee (you could also use softened butter)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dill weed
  • Zest from half a lemon
  • 1 lemon, sliced

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 425 F
  • Arrange chopped vegetables on a baking sheet
  • Cover with olive oil and seasonings
  • Stir to combine
  • Cook for 20 minutes
  • While cooking, combine ghee, seasonings, and lemon zest in a small bowl
  • Dry the salmon with a paper towel
  • Rub the salmon with ghee mixture
  • When vegetables are done, stir them and make space for the salmon in the middle
  • Add filet to the pan, skin side down
  • Arrange lemon slices around the filet
  • Cook for an additional 12-15 minutes, until salmon flakes easily with a fork
  • Serve hot with lemon wedges

If you like one pan meals, be sure to check out my One Pan Chicken and Shrimp FajitasTurkey Sausage Breakfast BakeFruit and Nut Granola, and Creamy Tomato Basil Soup. My goal with this blog is to help wives and moms (and husbands/dads if you’re the chef of the family!) with feeding their families simple, whole foods! You don’t need to spend forever cooking or have every burner on the stove going to cook a healthy meal for your family. One pan meals are the best things for those *crazy* days, healthy for your body…and your sanity. And who doesn’t like washing fewer dishes?! Like Tom and Donna so wisely taught us on Parks and Rec: TREAT YO SELF!…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

 

 

 

Lemon Garlic Aioli

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Before Whole30 I had never made my own mayonnaise or aioli, but after trying it, I will never go back! My husband is a mayo hater, and even he loves this aioli because it doesn’t taste “mayonnaise-y”, and it is a wonderful sauce to have on hand. You can eat it with burgers or roasted meats, dip your veggies in it, or use it as the base for dressings (such as my Dairy free Garlic Herb Ranch),and it’s great for mixing into chicken or potato salad! On top of being tangy and delicious, it is incredibly versatile!

You have a few options for oil, but you don’t want to use a bold olive oil as it will negatively affect the taste. I’ve tried a few different types of oil, but my favorite so far is grapeseed, as it is a light oil without a strong taste. Other good options are avocado oil, light olive oil, or even canola oil; you could also do a combination.

You will feel so fancy and accomplished for making your own aioli, and I hope it will soon become a staple in your fridge!

Lemon Garlic Aioli

Makes one cup.

Ingredients:

  • One egg
  • Juice of one lemon
  • One large garlic clove
  • One tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • Salt to taste
  • One cup of grapeseed, light olive, avocado oil, or a combination

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients except oil in food processor or blender, blend until combined
  • Add a quarter cup of oil in at a time, blending well (on medium-low or low speed) after each addition.
  • After all the oil is added, it should be a thick consistency, like mayonnaise. If it is still too runny, add more oil a couple of tablespoons at a time.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week

I hope making this helps you feel like a whiz in the kitchen! Spread it on your sandwich or make some ranch…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

Spicy Garlic Salsa

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Sad Salsa No More

Confession time: one of the things I miss most about Texas is Tex-Mex. I know some people think it’s gross or inauthentic, but I am not one of those people.

In fact, I wish I could sit down right now with some salted chips, spicy salsa, and a frozen margarita. SoCal Mexican food is very different from what I grew up with, and I like it, too, but it’s not home.

We often have more than one jar of store bought salsa in our fridge, but nothing beats fresh, homemade salsa. And it’s healthier, too; it is lower in sodium, sugar, and has no additives!

What really amps this salsa up is the charred jalapeno. Seriously. Don’t skip this step! You can either lay the jalapeno on top of your gas burner on the stove, which is what I do, or you can put it in the broiler, just make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Once your jalapeno is all black and blistery, you just need to blend up your ingredients and that’s it! I’ve included a picture of the ingredients so you can see what the jalapeno looks like after it’s been charred.

salsa ingredients

Enjoy this versatile salsa with your eggs in the morning, with your beans and rice, on top of tacos or fajitas, or to dunk your plantain chips in.

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Spicy Garlic Salsa

I make a small batch for just the two adults in our family, but feel free to double up the ingredients if you want.

Equipment Needed:

  • Blender or food processor

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 to one charred jalapeno, with or without seeds, depending on taste
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce (no added salt or sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Juice of half a lime

Directions:

  • Char jalapeno either on gas stovetop or in the broiler, making sure it doesn’t burn
  • Once charred, add all ingredients to blender or food processor
  • Blend until desired consistency
  • Store in airtight container in fridge for up to a week, although it never lasts longer than three days here

I hope this salsa adds some spice to your meals and snacks! Dunk away…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

 

 

Dairy free Garlic Herb Ranch

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The Problem with Ranch…

Alright, listen up y’all! I am from the great state of Texas, where everything is bigger and better…and covered in ranch dressing. We are pretty much raised on the stuff. I remember going out to eat with my mom, sister, and nephew who was 13 months old at the time, and he literally picked up his side of ranch dressing and drank it! My husband and I still laugh about that today; it was so cute and funny!

Personally, I don’t enjoy ranch on my salads because then you can’t actually taste the salad...go figure. However, I love to dip veggies and fries in ranch, and my husband loves it on everything! The problem with ranch (and a lot of creamy dressings you could buy at the supermarket), is that it’s really not too good for you. A serving (2 tbsps) of a popular brand name is 140 calories, and 130 of those are from fat! If you eat a 2,000 calorie diet, this is 22% of your fat intake! Instead of eating a yummy, creamy avocado, you are wasting your fat intake on a measly two tablespoons of dressing. The saturated fat level is 12% of the recommended intake, and the sodium level is 11% of the recommended intake (again, following a 2,000/day calorie intake).* It seems better to me to season our food well so that we don’t need to drown it in fatty dressing.

I will admit, though, sometimes you just need to dunk your crispy sweet potato fries into a bowl of ranch. While on Whole30, that need for cool, zesty ranch dressing drove me to try two different brands of compliant ranch dressing, and they were good, but pretty pricey. I recently decided to try my hand at making my own, and my whole family loved the results! We have used it on salads, meats, baked potatoes, and for dipping fries and veggie chips. Zemirah’s favorite is just to lick it off her fingers!

The base of this dressing is mayonnaise/aioli, so you can either make your own (which is shockingly simple!), or your other option would be to find a high quality mayonnaise at the store made with avocado oil or olive oil without a bunch of yucky additives. After that, all you really need is a blender/food processor, coconut milk, and some herbs and spices!

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Dairy free Garlic Herb Ranch

This recipe makes about a cup of dressing, and could easily be doubled if you want more.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise/aioli
  • 1/4 cup of full fat coconut milk (it will be thin if you get low fat)
  • 1/2 tsp of white vinegar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 scallion, cut into quarters
  • 3 tsp chopped fresh dill (or 2 tsp dry)
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, depending on taste (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste (I like a lot!)

Materials Needed:

  • Measuring spoons
  • Blender or food processor

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in blender/food processor
  • Blend until smooth
  • Store in the refrigerator, in a covered container, for a week

This is a simple recipe, but I hope having my healthy, dairy free ranch on hand helps you spice up your family’s meals! Have a blessed week…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

 

 

 

 

*Nutritional Facts of Ranch

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