Parsley Pesto Shrimp over Quinoa

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This delicious dish is a slightly different, healthier take on conventional pesto pasta but is still super easy and quick to make. Quinoa, although still composed of mostly carbs, has more protein and fat than pasta making it a little healthier and it is gluten-free! I used a freshly prepared parsley pesto to add a little more of a twist to this recipe. The parsley pesto compliments the flavors of the shrimp and adds a fresh take on boring old pesto pasta, but you can always use regular pesto if that is what you have available.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup parsley pesto NOTE: You can also substitute any other type of pesto you want.
  • 1 lb raw shrimp, deveined NOTE: To make this recipe even quicker and simpler to prepare you can use pre-cooked shrimp
  • 1 cup dry quinoa (makes 3 cups of quinoa once cooked)
  • 2 cups of water
  • Vegetables of your choice NOTE: I used 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms, 1/4 chopped onion and two small tomatoes because that is what I had on hand, but when I make this in the future I am going to add more veggies
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Bring the cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Once it begins to boil, lower the heat, cover it and cook for 15mins. When it is done, remove it from the heat and set aside for later
  3. Chop all your veggies and defrost your shrimp if it is frozen. Also remove the tails of all the shrimp if they are still attached.
  4. Sautee your vegetables in a large frying pan/skillet over medium heat for about 5-8mins or until they are nearly cooked.NOTE: certain veggies cook longer tha others so start with the veggies that take longer to cook(examples: onions, peppers, broccoli) and about 3-5mins in add the veggies that cook faster(examples: mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach).
  5. Add in the shrimp and cook for 4-6mins until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through. NOTE: If you are using precooked shrimp just cook until the shrimp is heated through(about 2-3 mins)IMAG0335
  6. Stir in the parsley pesto  to coat the shrimp and veggies. Cook until the pesto is heated and bubbling.IMAG0337
  7. Remove from heat and serve the pesto shrimp over the quinoa.

Servings: 6 Serving size: 1/2 cup quinoa and 5-6 shrimp (Or about 1 cup all mixed together)

nutritionparselypestoshrimpquinoa

Estimated by http://www.caloriecount.com/

Parsley Pesto

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I got fresh parsley in my food share and as much as I love getting fresh herbs I am always at a loss about how to use them all before they go bad. Most recipes only call for a small amount of the herbs, so I usually end up either throwing the majority of it away for freezing them for use in soups later on. This time I tried making a pesto sauce out of my parsley and it turned out to be amazing in my pesto shrimp over quinoa recipe, but I also imagine it would make a great sauce on pasta or as a base in bruscetta. It is so simple and quick to whip up a batch of this fresh pesto you won’t ever need to buy it again!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh parsley NOTE: There is no need to remove the stems, just wash and dry the herbs and stick them into the food processor whole
  • 1/3-2/3 cup olive oil NOTE: You can adjust the amount of olive oil based on your taste and how thin you want the pesto to be
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup walnuts(or almonds) NOTE: You can omit the nuts entirely if you want but they give the pesto a nutty flavor and a little bit of protein which makes this recipe that much better.
  • 1/2 cup parmesan(shredded or grated)
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Place the garlic, parsley, walnuts, cheese, and salt into a food processor(basically everything except the olive oil).IMAG0332
  2. Process until the ingredients turn into a paste.
  3. Gradually add in olive oil until you get the consistency and flavor of pesto you desire. You can use this immediately in a recipe or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and in the freezer for about 6 months.

Servings: 8 Serving Size: 2 tbsp

nutritionparsleypesto

estimated by http://www.caloriecount.com/

Chicken Enchiladas

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Enchiladas are one of my favorite mexican dishes because they are not usually as spicy as other mexican foods and can be loaded with veggies to make them healthier. This version is paleo, gluten-free, and amazing. I made the whole thing from scratch including the enchilada sauce and gluten-free tortillas, but if you do not have time to do this you can always just buy these things.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups shredded chicken breast(pre cooked) NOTE: This is the yield from the breast meat of a 5lb roasting chicken or approximately 1 lb of chicken breast.
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 8 gluten-free tortillas NOTE: You can use store-bought or make these using my recipe here
  • 2 cups shredded cheese NOTE: I used cheddar cheese because that is what I had lying around, but mexican or mozzarella cheese would be great too.
  • 1 batch enchilada sauce (or 8 oz store-bought enchilada sauce)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare your enchilada sauce and tortillas now, if you want to make them. This is also a good time to dice your onion and bell peppers.IMAG0322 IMAG0307
  3. In a large frying pan/skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell peppers and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until your peppers get soft and your onions become translucent.  IMAG0317
  4. Add the shredded chicken and green chiles, and season with salt and pepper.  Saute for another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chicken and chiles are heated through.IMAG0324
  5. Assemble the enchiladas starting with spreading 1- 1 1/2 tbsp of enchilada sauce on a tortilla then adding the chicken and vegetable mixture and 2-3 tbsp cheese on top of that.  IMAG0326
  6. Roll up tortilla and place in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Once all the enchiladas are assembled and placed in the pan, spread the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the tortillas, and sprinkle on the remaining shredded cheese.IMAG0327
  7. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes and then enjoy! If you have any leftovers(and this is a big if), this will stay in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for 3 months.

Serving size: 1 enchilada, Servings: 8

nutritionchickenenchilada

estimated by http://caloriecount.about.com/

Gluten-Free Tortillas

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I didn’t realize how easy it was to make homemade tortillas until I stumbled across this recipe. These tortillas are gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo, but you can easily substitute in regular flour/milk if you want a more traditional tortilla. I made mine even thinner than the original and they still held up well when I used them in my chicken enchilada recipe. They are also super quick to whip up.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of full fat coconut milk (or you can use unsweetened almond milk or milk if you aren’t trying to avoid dairy)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3/4 cup of arrowroot flour
  • 3 tbsp of coconut flour
  • Some sort of oil or butter for greasing the pan so the tortillas don’t stick

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, olive oil.
  2. Whisk in the arrowroot flour and coconut flour until the flours are fully mixed in and there are few to no lumps. IMAG0310
  3. Heat a greased frying pan (I used a 10 inch pan) on medium to medium-low heat.
  4. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into center of pan and swirl the pan to spread the batter out. My tortillas were about 6 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick(similar to a regular tortilla)IMAG0313
  5. Cook for 2-3 minutes until tortilla is lightly browned on the bottom.
  6. Flip and cook about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on the opposite side until browned.IMAG0316
  7. Place tortillas on a paper towel-lined plate and use immediately or store in an airtight bag for up to a week.

Serving size: 1 tortilla, Servings: 4-6

nutritiontortilla

estimated by http://caloriecount.about.com/

Enchilada Sauce

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I stumbled upon this recipe for homemade enchilada sauce on gimmesomeoven.com and it looked good so I decided to try it for myself and use it for my chicken enchiladas. It turned out great! This is now my go-to enchilada sauce because it is super simple, quick, and delicious. I made it paleo and gluten-free by using healthier oils and arrowroot flour instead of regular flour.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot flour
  • 4 Tbsp chili powder (you can adjust the amount of chili powder based on how hot you want it)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 2 cups chicken stock (If you want to make your own check out my recipe here)

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Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the arrowroot flour and whisk together over the heat for one minute.IMAG0300
  3. Stir in the remaining seasonings (chili powder, garlic powder,salt, cumin, and oregano).IMAG0301
  4. Gradually add in the stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps. Reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes until thick. Use immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.IMAG0304

Serving size: 2 tbsp, Servings: 8

nutritionenchiladasauce

estimated by http://caloriecount.about.com/

Day 21: Results

It is officially the last day of the 21dsd and it has been a pretty good ride. I had some cravings in the beginning but was able to get through them thanks to planning and will power. This detox was actually much easier the second time around, which is most likely due to the fact that I was familair with the changes that would occur and I was much better at actually cooking food in advance and finding 21dsd recipes I enjoy instead of eating raw vegetables and flavorless meat.

I also was able to navigate eating out and restaurants better by checking the menu in advance and not being afraid to ask about ingredients/recipes. Restaurants are very accommodating these days, which could be linked to the rise in allergies like gluten and dairy or to rise in alternative diets like vegetarian, vegan and paleo. Whatever it is I was happy that wherever I went I was able to find a 21dsd option that I actually enjoyed. Today I went to the Garces Trading company for restaurant week brunch and I shared mozzarella cheese and a charcuterie plate with a friend for an appetizer, got baked eggs for a main course and gave away my dessert. Overall it was a really nice brunch and probably my last meal on the 21dsd so it was almost like a celebration of the end.

I have gained a ton of strength this detox from a combination of eating unprocessed foods and working out 5 days a week. I actually invested in a pair of adjustable dumbbells because the weight set I currently have is too light and I am able to do way too many reps before getting tired during strength training exercises. Not only have I gained strength during the detox, but  I have lost a total of 7.6lbs and my skinny jeans are a bit baggy. I have to wear a belt to keep them up. Unfortunately I forgot to take my body measurements before and after the detox but I can definitely tell that I’ve lost some inches off my waist and thighs because of the way my clothes are fitting. Below is a before and after the detox picture of me(wearing the same pjs). Overall, I think the detox was a success, but I am also super happy that it’s over.

Before(171lbs)

Before detox (171lbs)

After(163.4)

After detox (163.4)

 

Gluten-free White Pizza

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This recipe is a variation of my cauliflower crust veggie pizza, but for those of you who are avoiding nightshades or just prefer white pizza, this version is nightshade-free and gluten-free, but still delicious.

Ingredients for cauliflower crust:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower(about 3 cups chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg

Pizza toppings:

  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced(you can also use garlic powder)
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese NOTE: I prefer fresh mozzarella so I used some fresh mozzarella medallions I got from Whole foods and I used about 8 medallions. If you do not want to add cheese you can skip this and the parmesan to make it dairy free pizza and instead use veggies and meat for the toppings.
  • 2 tbsp shredded parmesan
  • Any other toppings you want NOTE: I used sausage, 4 oz of sliced mushrooms, and 1/2 medium onion for my toppings, but you can use whatever you want.

Directions:

  1. Cut the florets of the cauliflower away from the larger stem(you won’t need the stem) and place them into a food processor
  2. Pulse the cauliflower until it is in very small rice like pieces. This is called “ricing” the cauliflower. It should look similar to the picture below.IMAG0161
  3. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a pot.
  4. Now is a good time to prepare your toppings for the pizza. Chop all your veggies for your pizza the way you like them. If you are using raw meat like sausage or meatballs, make sure to pre-cook it. I used mild Italian sausage so I removed the casing and sautéed it over the stove, breaking it into small pieces as I stirred it. If you are using preserved meats like pepperoni or ham you don’t need to worry about precooking it.IMAG0270
  5. Once the pot of water is boiling, add the cauliflower “rice”. Turn the heat off (leave the pan on the burner), and cover the pot. Let the “rice” sit covered for 10 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you didn’t finishing prepping your toppings do that while the oven preheats and the “rice” is cooking.
  7. Drain the cauliflower “rice” in a fine mesh sieve or directly strain it through a dish towel. (I find it is easier to strain it through a sieve first, but f you don’t have one just use a towel.) Transfer the cooked cauliflower from the sieve to a clean dish towel.
  8. The cauliflower may be too hot to work with now so wait until it is cool enough and then wrap the cauliflower in a dish towel, and squeeze out the excess water. NOTE: This is super important otherwise your crust won’t hold together properly as it cooks and will be crumbly. There will be quite a bit of excess water so keep straining. Below is what my cauliflower “rice” looked like before and after squeezing out the excess water.                                                                 Before                                        IMAG0162          After         IMAG0163
  9. Mix the cauliflower “rice” in a bowl with the almond flour, spices, olive oil and egg.
  10. Pour the crust mixture onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper and shape it into a circular pizza shape. NOTE: Parchment paper is different from wax paper. Do not use wax paper.IMAG0167
  11. Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 12-15mins on a middle shelf until the top begins to turn golden brown and the edges begin to get crispy.IMAG0169
  12. Remove the crust from the oven and add your toppings.IMAG0272
  13. Put the pizza back in the oven on the top most shelf and cook for an additional 10-15mins until your toppings get warm and your cheese melts. Remove and enjoy!

Serving size: 1/4 pizza Servings: 4

Nutrition data based on pizza with sausage, mushroom and onion toppings.

nutritionwhitepizza

estimated by http://caloriecount.about.com/

Easy Whole Roasted Chicken

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When I first started getting my food share about a year ago, I had never really cooked meat(since I was a vegetarian for about 7 years) and I thought it was super gross in its raw form(which I still do haha). But I signed up for a chicken share because I was trying to introduce more meat into my diet and wanted only meat produced locally, humanely, and without hormones. Unfortunately, this meant I didn’t get to choose what type of chicken I got each week and I got a whole roasting chicken the first week. I had never cooked a whole bird before and spent about a day on the internet looking up and comparing different recipes, watching tutorials about how to cook this thing, and calling my mom and sister every step of the way to make sure I was doing everything correctly. And guess what? It turned out perfectly.Since then I have made at least 15 roasted chickens and have learned not to worry so much. This is one of the easiest things ever to prepare and basically just requires a little basting before going into the oven and then you can forget about it for an hour or so while it cooks. Really the hardest part is cutting the thing after it’s done cooking. Here is my very simple recipe for getting a perfect roasted chicken every time.

Ingredients:

  • Whole chicken
  • Butter(or olive oil)
  • salt(about 1 tsp)
  • pepper(about 1/2 tsp)
  • garlic powder(about 1/2 tsp)
  • OPTIONAL: Lemon slices

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°FNOTE: Many recipes say put your oven to 425°F, but I find that this causes the skin on my chicken to burn before the chicken inside is cooked, so I like to roast my chicken at a lower temperature for a little longer to get a crisp skin without it burning.
  2. Remove the giblets from your chicken(if there are any) and set aside for later or throw away. If there are any excess fatty parts or if your chicken comes with the neck attached you will want to remove that now.
  3. Wash the chicken thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. The way to get the juiciest most flavorful chicken is to place your butter/olive oil underneath the skin of the chicken like the picture below. This may require that you pull the skin of the chicken away from the meat so if you don’t want to do this you can just place the butter on top of the chicken.IMAG0256
  5. You will also want to put some butter on the back of your chicken/in the bottom of your roasting pan(I don’t actually have a roasting pan so I usually use a ceramic dish that fits my chicken perfectly) so that your chicken doesn’t stick to the bottom.IMAG0252
  6. Season your chicken on all sides with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. If you want a lemon garlic chicken place a few lemon slices on the bottom of your pan and on the top of your bird.IMAG0257
  7. Lay the chicken on it’s back in the pan so the legs are sticking up and stick it on the middle shelf of the preheated oven.NOTE: It is important to put this as close to the middle of your oven as possible to ensure even heating.IMAG0258
  8. Cook the bird for 1-1 1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer stuck in the thickest part( I usually check the breast and the thigh) reads 165°F and/or the juices run clear if you make a small cut between the leg and the body.
  9. Remove the bird from the oven and let it cool for 15-20mins or until you can handle it without burning yourself.
  10. Carve the bird(this is a great tutorial if you have never carved a bird before) and serve the bird as is or use the meat in a lot of different recipes(like buffalo chicken). Make sure to save the bones/carcass to make chicken stock(recipe here)!IMAG0265

It is difficult to give the serving size, number of servings, and nutrition data here because it will vary based on what part of the chicken you are eating, how large your chicken is and if you are removing the skin or not, so I am omitting it here. In general the white meat will be leaner and have fewer calories, while the dark meat will be a bit more savory and fattier.

Simple Homemade Chicken Stock

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Making your own chicken stock is super easy and cheaper than buying it from a store. This simple recipe uses leftover chicken bones from a whole roasted chicken(recipe here), but you can also use any leftover bones you have(adding in a ham bone actually adds a ton of flavor). Basically you just dump all your ingredients in a pot(or crock pot), let it cook for a while and you have perfect homemade chicken stock!

Ingredients:

  • Bones, carcass and drippings from a whole roasted chicken (recipe for roasted chicken here) NOTE: If you have any other leftover bones from a ham add them here for a little more flavor. Also if you are using cleaned, leftover bones without any drippings you might want to add a pinch salt, pepper and garlic pepper for a little more flavor.
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar(or white vinegar) NOTE: The vinegar draws the marrow and nutrients out of the bone so you get a richer, more flavorful, and healthier stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Any vegetables you have lying around. The most common vegetables are carrots(typically 2 large), celery(typically 1-2 stalks), and onion(typically half of a large onion). I used 2 large carrots, 1/2 large onion, and a package of shiitake mushrooms because that is what I had around. You can really use any vegetables but be careful with veggies like radishes, turnips and potatoes because they can add a bitter taste to the broth.
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 8-10 cups of water NOTE: The water must cover your ingredients. If you want a stronger stock, use less water or more bones, and if you want a lighter stock add more water. I used 9 cups of water in my broth.

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Directions:

  1. In a large pot or crock pot add your chicken carcass, bones, and drippings.IMAG0263
  2. Roughly chop all your vegetables and mince your garlic and add them to the pot/crock pot. Add in your apple cider vinegar and bay leaf(and any spices you want) now.
  3. Add in water to cover the carcass and vegetables. You can add more or less water depending upon how strong you want your stock to be as long it covers the bones and veggies. IMAG0268
  4. If you are using a pot on the stove, bring the pot to a boil over high heat and then lower the heat and simmer the stock for 1-1/2 hours. If you are using a crock pot you can either turn the crock pot to high and cook the broth for 3-4 hours. Alternatively, if you want to cook it overnight/all day and not have to worry about it, turn the crock pot to low and cook for 8-10hours.
  5. Remove the carcass/bones from the broth and strain the broth through a sieve/strainer/towel/cheesecloth to separate the stock from the vegetables. You can save the vegetables and use them in a soup later or toss them. If you are using a towel/cheesecloth, let the broth cool a bit so you don’t burn yourself. NOTE: The carcass may fall apart so you may have to remove it in pieces and you may have some small bones remaining in your veggies when you strain it so be careful if you are saving them for a soup later. IMAG0279
  6. Let the broth cool on the counter and scoop out the layer of fat that forms at the top.
  7. Store the broth in a sterile container( I like to use glass containers). The broth will last about a week in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer.IMAG0280

Serving Size: 1 cup Servings: 8-10

Nutrition Data based on broth made with carcass and drippings from a whole roasted chicken, 2 large carrots, 1/2 large onion, 8 oz of mushrooms, minced apple cider vinegar, 9 cups of water and a bay leaf.

nutritionchickenstock

estimated by http://caloriecount.about.com/

Day 20: Two days left!

Only two days left to go on this round of the 21dsd! Today was a pretty nasty weather day. In typical Philadelphia fashion, it warmed up enough that all the snow that fell yesterday turned into slush and then later on in the day, when it got colder, everything turned into ice. The one nice thing about the terrible weather was that it prevented a lot of people from coming out so Whole Foods was practically empty, so I was free to poke around and read labels without being in the way.

I cooked a lot of stuff today and have a few more things to cook tomorrow, so expect a lot of new recipes in the next few days. In honor of my sister’s birthday, I experimented with making sugar-free 21dsd cupcakes(recipe here) and frosting (recipe here) and they turned out surprisingly well. Unfortunately, we couldn’t celebrate it together, but if she is reading this… HAPPY BIRTHDAY! This cupcake recipe could also be used to make gluten-free cupcakes(with sugar) when you are not on the 21dsd and I added a few modifications in the recipe so you can make these a bit sweeter.

Tomorrow is the last day of the 21dsd and also one of my final challenges because I am going out with some friends for restaurant week. I’ve already checked the menu and can eat something off the appetizer and meal selections but will have to give away my dessert. This is another reason I made those 21dsd friendly chocolate coconut cupcakes is so that I will a little treat waiting for me at home tomorrow so I won’t be tempted to stop my detox a day early.