Category Archives for "Recipes"

When You Don’t Really Want Chicken Recipe

Staring into an open refrigerator didn't help me much yesterday. I knew there was chicken inside that I had on the menu to cook. I just didn't feel like chicken. Actually I just didn't feel like cooking. Coach Dean does most of the cooking yet I take over a few days a week. Today was my day and chicken was supposed to be on the menu. Yuck. 

I am sure that has happened to you at times too. Since I couldn't change my fate about a chicken dinner, I decided to change my mind. I spent a few minutes decided what type of food I was in the mood for and then went to my cookbook. I love Thai food and Mexican food. Probably because both have a bit of spicy hot to them. I went with Thai. 

I'm going to post the recipe as it is written but hang onto your hats because I changed it up drastically. Here's the original. Which by the way is fantastic, I just didn't have crockpot time yesterday. 

Chicken Pad Thai

  • 2 pound chicken thighs, skinless you can also use chicken breasts
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoon sunflower seed butter, (Sunbutter)
  • 1 tbsp. coconut aminos
  • 2 tsp. of fish sauce
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger (or 1 tbsp. freshly minced ginger)
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 1 bunch green onion
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 carrot
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp Chopped cashews
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro, chopped

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and a little bit of the cayenne pepper and ginger. Add coconut milk and chicken stock to a crockpot and stir well. Add sunflower seed butter, coconut aminos, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, 2 chopped green onions, cayenne pepper, and red pepper. Stir well until sunflower seed butter is completely dissolved. Place chicken breasts or thighs into the base liquid.Using a spiral slicer turn the zucchinis into veggie noodles, and shred your carrots in a food processor. Toss the zucchini noodles and carrots together to mix them well. Place these on top of the chicken in the slow cooker. The goal is for them to be steamed, not stewed.Cook for 3.5 to 4 hours on low if you are using a 4-quart slow cooker. Cook for 5 to 6 hours on low if you are using a 6-quart slow cooker. To serve, place veggie noodles on each plate and top with . chicken, then garnish with green onions, chopped cilantro, and chopped cashews.

All good stuff right?

Now here is what I did instead. 

Coach Nancy's Chicken Pad Thai (Take 2)

  • 2 pound chicken thighs, (skin on bone in)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoon sunflower seed butter, (Sunbutter)
  • 1 tbsp. coconut aminos
  • 2 tsp. of fish sauce
  •  1 tbsp. freshly minced ginger (2 tsp. ground ginger)
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 1 bunch green onion
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 carrot
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp Chopped cashews

Place the chicken in a 9 x9 cooking dish. Add the coconut milk, sunflower seed butter, coconut aminos, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, 2 chopped green onions, and red pepper flakes. Stir well until sunflower seed butter is completely dissolved. Bake in an oven preheated to 375 until temperature reaches 160. (about an hour)

Using a vegetable peeler turn the zucchinis and carrot into veggie noodles. Toss the zucchini noodles and carrots together to mix them well. Don't use the inner soft seedy area of the squash. Sauté the veggie strips in a pan heated to medium with melted coconut oil for about 3 minutes until soft. I used the recipe for Vegetable Fettuccine as the base for the Chicken Pad Thai.

To serve, place veggie noodles on each plate and top with chicken. Garnish with green onions and chopped cashews.

I loved the new take on this recipe for one reason, I liked how the skin on the chicken crisped up and the flavor from the liquid it was in stood out. It was a bonus how sensational it looks in the picture.

Enjoy good food,

Coach Nancy

I have different Chicken Thai recipes. Click here for one that uses broccoli slaw and lime juice. 

Sunflower Shoots, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Salad

Microgreens are the new thing when it comes to salad. At least they are in the Carlson house. Sunflower shoots are one of the six different kinds of Microgreens grown by Papa Dean. Sunflower shoots have a slight nuttiness to them and a bit of a crunch which provides a great texture. According the Riegl Palate; “Farmers originally started growing them in greenhouses to provide a supply of winter greens. They’ve become such a popular microgreen that they’re now grown all year round and available at many farmers markets. Microgreens contain up to 100 times the enzymes found in full grown greens allowing your body to more easily assimilate vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (substances found in certain plants that are believed to be beneficial to our health and help prevent various diseases).” My favorite reason to eat Sunflower shoots? I really like they way they taste. 

Sunflower Shoots, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Salad

  • 1 small head green leaf lettuce, I’m going to use Papa Dean’s microgreens 🙂
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, each slice rolled up and cut in half
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, sliced and cut into quarters
  • 14 cherries, pitted and sliced in half
  • 2 cups sunflower shoots (loosely packed)
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Divide the microgreens between 2 plates. Arrange prosciutto, mozzarella and cherries on top of lettuce.

Top with sunflower shoots.

Lightly drizzle rice wine vinegar and olive oil over salad – you may not need the full amount of either. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Serve immediately.

Whatever reason you pick to eat Sunflower shoots I hope you purchase them from Papa Dean.

Enjoy good food,

Coach Nancy

Watermelon Microgreen Salad – Better than Yum!

It's about 420 degrees outside. The humidity level is around a zillion. The end of June is here. Summer is in full swing for the next few days. It's a perfect for watermelon. 

When I polled everyone recently the top food to eat when it is hot outside is watermelon. Salad was a close second followed by a cold dessert. I have solutions for all of that plus more. 

Watermelon is delicious and delicious for you. 

Nutrition Facts  -  Serving Size: 1 cup of diced

  • Calories 46
  • Total Fat 0.23g0%
  • Total Carbohydrate  11.48g4%
  • Dietary Fiber  0.6g2%
  • Sugars  9.42g
  • Protein  0.93g

So eat up.

I just made this salad yesterday. It was refreshing and sweet at the same time. Plus it took no time at all to prepare.

Watermelon and Papa Dean's Microgreens 

1 cup watermelon

2 Tablespoons feta cheese

1 large fistful of Papa Dean's Spicy Mix Microgreens

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

Lay the greens in your bowl, add the watermelon and cheese, drizzle the balsamic vinegar on top. Enjoy

Here's some ideas to enjoy more watermelon in your day.

Grilled Watermelon  - click here

Watermelon Pops - click here  

Enjoy good food,

Coach Nancy

Raspberry Summer Salad With Microgreens

I'll admit it, I'm in a rut. I just can't seem to stop making and eating this salad. It tastes so good and it is amazing to look at. The raspberries make me happy. Try it and let me know what you think. 

Raspberry Summer Salad with Microgreens

  • 1 box Papa Dean's Microgreens Sunny or Spicy blend
  • 1/2 cup Raspberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red raspberry jam (with seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup walnut or olive oil

Toast walnuts in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes, or until nuts begin to brown.

In a large bowl, toss together the greens, walnuts, blue cheese, avocado, and red onion.

In a small bowl, whisk together jam, vinegar, walnut oil, pepper, and salt. Pour over the salad just before serving, and toss to coat. Garnish salad with the fresh berries.

Enjoy good food,

Coach Nancy

Wilted Pea Shoots, Caramelized Garlic, and Shrimp

I am so excited about this recipe. Pea shoots raw in a salad are fantastic. Lightly sautéing them is kicking it up a notch. WOW- Fabulous. You have got to try this. Your taste buds will thank you. 

Wilted Pea Shoots, Caramelized Garlic, and Shrimp

  • 1 box Papa Dean's Microgreen Pea Shoots
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ pound shrimp
  • Lemon zest (optional)
  • Peeled garlic cloves
  • Olive oil

Place as many peeled pieces of garlic as you wish in a saucepan. Cover with olive oil. (I sliced the garlic thin so I didn’t have to use as much oil.)

Simmer on low heat until the garlic is a deep brown. Turn off heat. This is a 20 minute process but can be done on food prep day.

When the oil has cooled, separate garlic cloves and oil with a sieve, reserving both oil and garlic in separate containers.

Place a tablespoons of garlic oil in a hot pan over medium heat.

Add a box of Papa Dean’s Microgreen Pea Shoots to the pan. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Stir just until wilted.

Toss in a handful of caramelized garlic cloves.

Serve as a side dish.

For the Shrimp:

Heat a skillet over a medium-high flame. Add olive oil  and shrimp make sure there is space between each shrimp.

When shrimp are light pink on one side, quickly turn over. Turn off heat. They’ll finish cooking while you get your plates ready.

Place shrimp on top of pea shoots and garlic. Zest a little lemon on top of scallops. Serve.

Coach Dean made a cauliflower rice recipe to go alongside this recipe. I'll have to pin him down so I can get that recipe to you as well.

Enjoy good food,

Coach Nancy

12 Ways to Make It Happen at Breakfast

Starting your day off right nutritionally begins that daily cycle of eating healthy. Often I hear; " If I eat healthy at the beginning of the day it helps me to make better choices the rest of the day. BUT I have so hard a time Making It Happen." You'll find 14 different ways to make the best start to your day so you've can set yourself up for better choices as the day goes on. 

12 Ways to Make It Happen at Breakfast

  1. Cook eggs the night before. This is what Dean did for years for his breakfast each day. I cooked his eggs the night before, added in mixed veggies, a small container of salsa and black beans.
  2. Laurie’s keep it simple Breakfast

                         Laurie’s keep it simple Breakfast:

                         3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

                         ½ avocado, cut into chunks

                         2 Tablespoons of salsa

                         Mix all in a bowl to combine. It’s that simple.

               3. Grab and Go Breakfast- Hard boiled eggs served with cut veggies

  1. Deli meat with salad– who says you can’t have it at breakfast?
  1. Mini quiches from the freezer

                        Mini Quiche

                        2 cups Spinach

                        ¼ cup Red pepper, chopped

                       ¼ cup Onion, chopped

                       6 Egg whites

                       2 whole eggs

                      ¼ cup swiss cheese

                      3 cloves garlic, chopped

                       5 oz ham

                       ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

                       Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add all the ingredients to a blender, blend on low. Lightly                              coat a muffin tray with peanut or coconut oil. Fill each cup ½ way, bake for 20 minutes.                               Remove from the pan and cool. Serve with salsa. 

                                                          Recipe from Gourmet Nutrition by John Beradi.

  1. Breakfast burritos

                          Breakfast Burritos

                          3 egg whites and 1 whole egg

                          1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

                          1/4 cup onion, green pepper, and mushroom, chopped

                          Salsa to taste

                          1 whole wheat or lo-carb tortilla

                          Coat frying pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray - medium heat. Scramble the egg                                 whites and whole egg, then mix in the onion, green pepper, mushrooms, and cheese.                                  Cook until eggs are set and cheese is melted. Spoon mix onto a whole wheat tortilla, add                           salsa, wrap it up, and enjoy!

  1. Protein Icing- You’ll never be bored with breakfast after this one
  1. The Breakfast Stack – slice of ham, slice of cheese, with a poached egg on top
  1. Eggs in a Mug

                          Eggs in a Mug

                          2 whole eggs or 1/2 cup Egg Beaters Original)

                          One wedge The Laughing Cow Light Original Swiss cheese, cut into pieces

                          Spray a large microwave-safe mug lightly with nonstick spray. Stir egg and cheese well.                             Microwave for about a minute. Stir gently, and then microwave for another 30 - 45                                       seconds, until scramble is just set. You can also add a teaspoon of salsa and one                                       tablespoon of black beans for a Mexican mug. Or even 2 ounces of cut ham, or what                                  about a ¼ cup of chopped asparagus and red pepper? And then there is an ounce of                                  salmon and three cherry tomatoes. Oh the combinations you can come up with.

  1. Frittatas

                          Colorful Frittata

                           1 cup broccoli florets

                           3/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

                           2 green onions, finely chopped

                           1 teaspoon coconut oil

                           1 cup cubed fully cooked ham

                           8 eggs

                           1/4 cup water

                           1/4 cup Dijon mustard

                           1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

                           1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

                           1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

                            In a large skillet, saute the broccoli, mushrooms and onions in coconut oil until tender.                                 Add ham; heat through. Remove from the heat and keep warm. In a mixing bowl, beat                                the eggs, water, mustard, Italian seasoning and garlic salt until foamy. Stir in the                                          tomatoes and broccoli mixture. Pour into a greased shallow 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Bake                               at 375 degrees F for 22-27 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out                                     clean.

  1. Crustless Sunday Quiche

                          Crustless Quiche

                         5 eggs

                          1 cup milk or half and half

                          1/2 cup cheese (cheddar, American, Colby, jack what ever you have on hand)

                          1/2 cup spinach or broccoli

                          1/4 cup chopped onion

                         1/4 cup chopped red pepper

                         1 Tablespoon corn meal

                          Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 Mix all ingredients except corm meal in medium bowl.
In a                              non-stick skillet that will take the temperature in the oven, spray with cooking spray and                              coat with corn meal. (I use a 8 inch commercial skillet). Pour egg mixture in skillet and                                 bake for 45 minutes or until top of quiche is golden brown.

                           The veggies in this quiche are so variable. You can use tomato with spinach or broccoli                               and tomato or just the onion, and peppers. Toss in a few mushrooms or sliced zucchini.                               You want to have about a cup of veggies in any combination. Experiment away!

                           Makes 4 servings. 
Easily doubles for larger skillets.

  1. Super shakes

One more bonus breakfast idea, Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast. 

Enjoy Good Food,

Coach Nancy

Chicken Bacon Salad

The other day I needed to fix lunch but when I went to grab the leftovers, they were already gone. Now that's usually a good thing but that day. I needed to fix lunch quick. A quick survey of my fridge told me I was down to bare bones. Here's what I came up with. 

Chicken Bacon with avocado dressing on microgreens. As I served it, I was hoping it would taste good. It was fantastic. In fact my family asked me to make it the next day too. Its easy give it a try.

Chicken Bacon Salad

  • 1 chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
  • 4 pieces of bacon
  • microgreens from Papa Dean's
  • Avocado dressing
  • 1 Tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese 

I fried the bacon until it was crispy. I took it out to drain. Then cook the chicken in the same pan. Put the warm chicken, bacon, cheese, and dressing on top of the microgreens. BAM! Deliciousness is served

You can make your own dressing but this time I bought Aldi's Avocado Tomatillo salsa and used that. 

Avocado Dressing

  • 1/2 avocado, pit removed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Pinch of salt

Blend the ingredients with an immersion blender or in a regular blender and process until smooth. Add more water if necessary to reach desired consistency. Taste for seasoning.

Enjoy good Food,

Coach Nancy

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

A few years ago if you would have mentioned Fish Tacos to me, I would have looked at you with a blank stare. Inside my head I would have been telling myself' "Is that such a thing?" I should not have knocked it until I tried it. They are so good. I've tried different recipes but this is one of my favorites.

Fish Tacos

  • 2 large oranges (juiced)
  • ½ lime (juiced)
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 6 oz. tilapia fillets (cut in 1” chunks) Or your favorite white fish

 For the salsa

  • ½ red pepper (diced) 
  • ½ tomato (diced)
  • ½ red onion (diced)
  • ½ mango (diced)
  • ½ avocado (sliced)
  • chopped cilantro

Mix the orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, cumin, and salt in a bowl and combine well.

Gently place the pieces of Tilapia into a large Ziploc bag and pour in the juice. Marinade for 2-4 hours in the refrigerator, flipping the bag over about half way through.

Next, heat some olive or coconut oil over a large skillet. When the pan is warm, add the Tilapia and cook for about 4-5 minutes on 1 side, then turning only once, finish cooking on the other side (about 8-9 minutes total)

Prepare your tacos to your liking, adding the fish, Mango salsa (be creative and add anything else you think may taste great on there!)

Here's how I made them. I added some corn to my salsa (you could also try black beans)  I left the avocado in slices. I added jalapeños to my taco. I served it over cilantro cauliflower rice on a bed of Papa Dean's Spicy Blend microgreens. Sliced green onions added a final touch or color on top.

It’s very refreshing and absolutely DELICIOUS! Once you get the marinade in the fridge, it will only take you about 10 minutes to prepare them.

No leftovers from this meal. 

Eat Good Food,

Coach Nancy


Breakfast Hash in a Hurry – Reboot

Great recipes don't get lost they get memorized. I love breakfast. I remember having my mom serve my brothers, sister, and I breakfast each day before school. It was a family event which is one reason I love it so. This recipe I make for my kids before they hit the books. 

Carlson Family Breakfast Hash

  • 1 onion chopped, I used a bag of frozen chopped onion
  • ½ green pepper, I used a half bag of frozen green peppers
  • ½ red pepper, I used a half bag of frozen red peppers
  • 2 cups cooked butternut squash, cubed – guess what I had leftovers so it was already done for me
  • 2 cups Sausage (or ham cut into bite size pieces – and again I had it leftover so super easy)
  • 1 apple cut into bit size pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil

Sauté the onions and peppers in the oil until soft and translucent. After about 4 minutes add in the apple. Let this cook for a few minutes before adding in the rest. Heat until everything is hot. (about 5 minutes)

I fried two eggs to add on top of each portion. It was yummy.

Options: Vary the amounts for your family size, but if you make a large batch you have breakfast for the week all done. Use Chorizo or other flavorful meat you have on hand in place of the ham. Substituting sweet potato or other winter squash for the butternut squash adds a new twist on the taste. I like to add cinnamon to this dish too. If you like other veggies add them in too. But always, always enjoy. If you have someone whose not fond of eggs, it is super yummy on its own.

Enjoy good food,

Coach Nancy

Frosting for Breakfast

I am so glad Dean is a helpful type of guy. Yesterday he helped a friend move a bedroom set and in return they gave him some hand picked blueberries from their freezer. YUM. So today at breakfast I remembered this fabulous recipe that Coach Dean came up with years ago. Frosting for breakfast. You've got to try this. 

Frosting for Breakfast

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 scoops Beverly International Angel Food Cake protein or Vanilla Protein
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip this in your blender for true frosting consistency. I mixed it by hand which tastes the same but is a denser version. 

Since I mixed this by hand it was perfect for the top of my oatmeal. It melted down into the oatmeal as I ate. Fantastic. 

We've whipped this with a mixer and then used the frosting as a dip for strawberries or any other fruit. Also truly delicious. 

Give it a whirl. 

Thank you Coach Dean for helping others, and also having a creative mind to create this recipe for your family and others to enjoy.

Eat Good Food,

Coach Nancy

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