Salsa Verde Shredded Chicken with Rice & Beans

I love rotisserie chickens. There are so many options for the meals you can make – posole, enchiladas, tacos, etc. For this meal, I just like to shred up a breast and eat that for an easy Phase 1 meal. Mixed with salsa verde (homemade Tomatillo Salsa or Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde), avocado, and my favorite Rancho Gordo La Paloma sauce. I can’t handle any spice so this is the mild hot sauce for me!

Alternatives to a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken:

  • Poach a chicken breast in a pot of boiling water: cover a chicken breast with cold water in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Shred and mix in the salsa.
  • Cook the chicken in a slow cooker with a jar of salsa verde on high for 2-4 hours or low for 8-10 hours. Shred and mix in the salsa.

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Ingredients:

  • 4-6 oz. chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup salsa verde
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/2 cup beans (black, pinto, white, kidney)
  • 1/2 rice (cauliflower rice for Phase 1, TJ’s frozen brown rice for Phase 2 or 3)
  • 1 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
  • Roasted bell peppers (I love mini bell peppers – I like to buy a big bag and use them in as many meals as I can)

Directions:

1. Pre-heat cast iron pan and roast peppers until they make popping noises.

2. Mix shredded chicken and salsa verde for an even coating. Top with avocado and hot sauce of your choice (sugarfree!).

3. Warm up rice and beans. This is such a simple meal to assemble, so I use canned beans and frozen rices that can be heated up in 3 minutes. Top beans with feta.

Makes enough for 1.

Fish Stew (Coippino)

This is a great soup year-round, especially if you’re trying to survive a San Francisco summer, where the dish originates. I like to make this when I have a variety of frozen seafood that I need to use up, but obviously it’s best when everything is fresh! Soup base can be made ahead and/or frozen for later.

Adapted from Epicurious.

INGREDIENTS

  • Soup Base
    • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 medium onions, finely chopped
    • 1  bay leaf
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
    • 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes (optional)
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 green bell pepper, diced
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (I like the TJs tube)
    • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine or red wine vinegar
    • 1 (28- to 32-ounces) can whole plum tomatoes
    • 1 cup bottled clam juice
    • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Seafood (any combination works, depending on what you have and/or like)
    • 1 lb king crab leg
    • 1 1/2 lb. small hard-shelled clams, scrubbed
    • 1 pound skinless white fish (red snapper, halibut) fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
    • 1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
    • 3/4 pound sea scallops
  • Fresh Herbs
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
    • Garnish with fresh basil leaves and small whole leaves
  • Phase 2: Accompany with whole wheat bread
  • Phase 3: Accompany with sourdough bread

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot.

2. Add garlic, onions, bay leaf, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt & pepper and cook until onions are softened.

3. Add bell pepper and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

4. Add wine and boil until reduced by half.

5. Add tomatoes with their juice, clam juice, and broth and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

6. While stew is simmering, hack crab leg through shell into 2- to 3-inch pieces with a large heavy knife. Add crab pieces and clams to stew and simmer, covered. Set aside opened clams. Discard any unopened clams after 10 minutes.

7. Lightly season fish fillets, shrimp, and scallops with salt and add to stew, then simmer, covered, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

8. Discard bay leaf, then return clams to pot.

9. Plate and garnish with parsley and basil. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Pan-Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

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This salsa is a homemade version of Trader Joe’s Tomatillo Salsa, and for some reason it took me a long time to start making it myself. Once I started, I can’t stop. I use it to make chicken enchiladas, fish tacos, or just eat straight with chips – (Phase 2 or 3). A great Phase 1 use would be over grilled tilapia.

Adapted from Taste and Tell and Little Spice Jar.

Ingredients:
  • 10 tomatillos (about 3 lbs), quartered
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and ribs removed (keep ribs and seeds if you want it hotter)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves (with skin)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Heat a large skillet and soak tomatillos in a large bowl. Remove the husks from the tomatillos.

2. Add olive oil, tomatillos, jalapeño and onion to the skillet. Sauté on high heat until caramelized on both sides, about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic cloves for the last minute.

3. Transfer to a blender or food processor and add in the cilantro, lime juice, salt (I prefer sea or Himalayan salt) and pepper.

4. Place in the refrigerator to chill.

Makes about 2-3 cups.

Kabobs with Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 3-6oz chicken or lamb, marinated in Greek Yogurt Marinade for 2-12 hours
  • ½ cup brown rice (cauliflower rice for Phase 1)
  • ¼ cup Tzakiki
  • 1 tomato, Roma or Beefsteak
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1/2 eggplant
  • 1 piece pita bread (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line a pan with aluminum foil and add meat.

2. Add whole tomato to the pan. Cook for 25-30 minutes.

4. Chop bell pepper and eggplant into slices and grill them on the stove until cooked through.

5. Prepare Tzakiki.

6. While meat and vegetables are cooking, prepare brown rice. I use TJs frozen brown rice, so that it only takes 3 minutes in the microwave.

7. Plate and enjoy.

Enough for one. Double, triple, quadruple portions for more people.

Southwestern Bowl

This is another throw-together, all in one bowl meal. This recipe works for all Phases, but for Phase 2/3 you can swap the caulk rice with brown (or even white) rice, add some jicama, and up the carbs. This bowl works no matter the ingredients – as long as you have a base of rice and beans, the rest just adds to it.

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Ingredients:

  • 3-6oz protein (steak, chicken, shrimp, fish)
  • ½ cup black or pinto beans
  • ½-1 cup cauliflower rice (sub brown rice for Phase 2, white rice works for Phase 3)
  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Tomato, chopped, or tomato salsa
  • Radish, sliced
  • 1oz cheese (cotija, feta, jack)
  • 2-4 Tbsp Avocado Crema

Directions:

1. Spray protein with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. For steak (tri tip), shrimp, or fish (tilapia), grill for 5 minutes on each side in a preheated cast iron pan. For chicken, I will often use the breast parts of a rotisserie chicken.

2. Prepare the rice. I use frozen cauliflower rice or frozen brown rice from Trader Joe’s, and both take about 3 minutes in the microwave to heat up. I portion out the 1/2 and save the rest in container for later.

3. While the protein is cooking and the rice is heating up, chop and prepare vegetables.

4. Mix all ingredients together and top with the Avocado Crema. Garnish with cilantro.

Makes 1 serving.

Chicken Satay with Tzakiki & Roasted Chickpeas

Adapted from Chrissy Tiegen’s Cravings cookbook.

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This meal balances the rich chicken and peanut sauce with the freshness of cucumber and dill. I like the marinate a big batch of the chicken and grill it throughout the week for a quick dinner or easy lunch to put together the night before. This set of BlenderBottle Storage Pak would be an easy way to keep each portion separate.

Shopping List:

  • Meat
    • 1 lb Chicken breast
  • Dairy
    • 8oz Greek yogurt
  • Dry Goods
    • 1 can coconut milk, full fat
    • 2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo)
    • 1 jar peanut butter
  • Sauces
    • Soy sauce
    • Rice vinegar
  • Spices
    • Turmeric
    • Ground cumin
    • Kosher salt
    • Italian seasoning
    • Cumin seeds
  • Produce
    • 6-12 cloves garlic
    • Fresh ginger
    • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
    • 1 bunch dill
    • 1 cucumber
    • 1 lemon

Directions:

1. Prepare the marinade and soak the chicken in the Turmeric Coconut Marinade for 2-12 hours. Chicken tenders work great, or you can cut up a chicken breast into 3-6oz portions. When I have the time, I’ll cut it up into bite sized pieces and kabob it like Chrissy suggests in her book. Grill the chicken for 5-10 minutes on each size, depending on the size of the chicken.

2. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the Peanut Sauce with an immersion blender. Add enough water to achieve the desired texture. Add 2-4 Tbsp to your plate.

3. With 1/2 cucumber, use half to mix the Tzakiki and half for slices. Add salt and pepper to the sliced cucumber. Add 1/4-1/2 cup to your plate.

4. Complete the meal with 1/2 cup of Herb-Roasted Chickpeas. I like to make a big batch and keep 1/2 cup portions in the fridge for grab and go snacks.

Ingredients:

  • Turmeric Coconut Milk Marinated Chicken
    • Chicken breast (tenders, kabobs, etc)
    • 1 can coconut milk, full fat
    • 1 Tbsp turmeric
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 4-8 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 in fresh ginger, minced
    • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
    • 4 tsp Kosher salt
  • Peanut Sauce (4-6 servings)
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter
    • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 inch fresh ginger
    • 1/4 cup water
  • Tzakiki (2-4 servings)
    • 1 cup Greek yogurt
    • 1/4 cucumber, 1/4″ cubes
    • 1/2 bunch dill
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon
    • Sea salt & pepper, to taste
    • Minced garlic, optional
  • Herb-Roasted Chickpeas
    • 2 15-ounce can chickpeas
    • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
    • 2 tsp cumin seeds
    • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • Kosher salt, to taste

Chicken Posole

My ultimate go-to dinner, year-round. It’s filling and full of flavor, yet light enough so you don’t feel stuffed afterwards. I usually eat it on its own, but you can add a side of rice and beans or top with tortilla strips to bulk it up. It’s also easy to individualize based on taste, since everyone can add their own toppings.

I like to buy a rotisserie chicken and separate the meat into light meat for tacos, enchiladas, etc. and dark meat for soup. If I’m not planning on using it for awhile, I’ll stick the containers in the freezer for later. I always use chicken, but pork works well too.

Depending on the day, I will either make this soup in a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or a large pot on the stove.

Ingredients:

  • Soup
    • 2 Tbsp oil (extra-virgin olive or avocado)
    • 1 ancho chile, sautéed (note: I don’t eat anything spicy, so I only occasionally do this)
    • 1 lb chicken (preferably thigh) (sub pork if desired)
    • 2 15oz (or 1 28oz) cans hominy
    • 4 cups of chicken broth
    • Add water, if needed
    • Salt & pepper
    • Optional: Add a can of chili verde or tomatillo salsa (make sure it’s sugar-free) to make a thicker soup.
  • Toppings
    • Green cabbage, shredded
    • Radish, sliced
    • Avocado, cubed
    • Cotija, queso fresco, or feta
    • Cilantro
    • Lime wedges
    • Green onion or red onion, chopped
    • Jalapeño (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat up a frying or cast iron pan on the stove. Put the pot next to it on the stove, or start heating up a slow cooker.

2. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a pan and brown the chile on all sides. Put chile in the pot or slow cooker. Begin cooking the chicken thighs. If using meat from a rotisserie chicken, shred the meat and put it directly into the pot or slow cooker.

3. Deglaze the pan and pour the liquid into the pot or slow cooker.

4. Add the hominy to the pot or slow cooker.

5. Add the chicken broth to the pot or slow cooker. Add more water if necessary. At this point, the soup is ready whenever it is warm enough, or you can leave it longer at a low simmer for 1-4 hours. Add salt & pepper to taste.

6. Pour soup into bowls (I use these for most of my meals), and top as you like!

Phase 2/3 Add-Ons:

  • Add a side of brown rice and black or pinto beans.
  • Add tortilla strips to turn it into a Tortilla Soup.