On The Menu: Paleo and Gluten Free + Baby Pouch

  • Almost Mexican Style Chicken
  • Chicken Dinner Pouch

When I was trying to look my best for my wedding 5 years ago, I ate this meal a lot. I also grew up eating it so for me, this is comfort food. When my mom comes and visits, we make and eat this at least once. It’s that good and that simple. Perhaps it’s so good because it’s so simple. This is also the chicken you’ll find when you go to your local Americanized Mexican restaurant and ask for a chicken salad, chicken quesadilla or chicken tacos. If your chicken isn’t grilled, this is the same shredded chicken but mine is better. Seriously. The stuff at restaurants almost always lacks flavor because it’s so watered down. This meal is also incredibly figure friendly and there’s absolutely no guilt with this meal. I make a huge batch of this but it only lasts for 2 meals because my hubby and I love it. We also found out that Abby loves it too.

Almost Mexican Style Chicken (salad or tacos)

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 7-8 cloves of garlic finely minced (this is what makes this dish… do not skimp out on the garlic!)
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • jalapenos (optional)
  • cilantro (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Corn tortillas if you want tacos

Boil the chicken breasts in water until cooked through. Save about 2 cups of the chicken broth and set aside. While waiting for the chicken to cool, chop the veggies.

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Cut the lettuce pretty thinly so you can use it either for a salad or tacos. You need to use iceberg. The crunchy-ness of the lettuce goes really well with the chicken. I have also been pretty lazy and just used iceberg lettuce cups with the chicken.

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Shred the chicken

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Toss the chicken back into the pan (do not use oil… this recipe does not need ANY oil) along with the broth that was set aside. Toss in the garlic, onion and tomatoes. Salt and pepper the mixture and toss once more.

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Then cover for 15 minutes and cook in medium heat while stirring occasionally. The mixture will cook and all the veggies will have melded together to create a wonderful smell and taste. Check for seasoning once more. If you do add more salt, let the mixture cook for another minute. At this point, I set aside a small bowl for Abby before adding in the jalapenos. If you choose not to add the jalapenos, it’s done! If you do add them, cook for another 2-3 minutes.

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Warm corn tortillas for tacos or make a bed of lettuce and scoop the mixture on top. Garnish with cilantro or add as much cilantro as you like. My mom adds a whole cup of it. She loves cilantro. I actually got seconds because it hit the spot! Abby enjoyed alternating taking bites of the chicken and tortilla. She wasn’t a fan of the lettuce at all.

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I even ate leftovers for breakfast this morning with 2 eggs and avocado after my workout at Crossfit Reliance. I was starving and this only took 2 minutes!

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Baby Chicken, Peas, Corn and Squash Dinner

  • 1/2 cup of chicken mixture
  • 1/2 cup of peas
  • 1/2 cup of corn
  • 3 oz. of squash

Toss the chicken mixture into a blender. Add the peas, corn kernels and squash. Then blend. I had to add about a tablespoon of water to get it to somewhat of a smooth consistency.

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Enjoy!

On The Menu: Hubby’s Cooking!

  • Breakfast Scramble Tacos
  • Soba

I am truly blessed to have the best hubby! Being together for over 14 years definitely has had it’s fair share of ups and downs but I wouldn’t change any of it. He’s so amazing and I’ve fallen in love with him even more after seeing him with Abby. He always told me he never wanted to be the kind of dad who just took a back seat and let the wife do everything. From day one he has been so proactive in Abby’s life and has done anything and everything to help the both of us. Ok, ok, enough of the mushy stuff. He also loves cooking and made brunch and dinner last week. These meals so simple and easy. The dinner is really something you throw together.

Breakfast Scramble Tacos

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 an onion diced
  • 1/2 a bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 a russet potato or 3-4 fingerling potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 sausage patties
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • Cheese is optional
  • Corn tortillas

We cooked the bacon separately because my hubby always loves extra bacon on the side. We get applewood smoked bacon that’s locally made at Whole Foods and the sausage is from Thompson Farms in Dixie, GA.

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After the bacon is done, set that aside. Saute the veggies in some oil (or you can use the bacon grease) until it’s cooked through. Add the sausage to the veggies and cook until done. Then add the bacon and eggs. Gently fold the mixture around so that you have chunks of eggs instead of an egg paste. Sam didn’t add any extra salt since the bacon and sausage were already salty.

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Warm the tortillas and serve! I assembled mine and put lots of hot sauce… yumm! Gluten free deliciousness!

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Abby enjoying hers!

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Soba

  • 1 pack of buckwheat noodles
  • Green onion
  • Seaweed sheet
  • Soba soup base

We always have a couple of quick meal options in the fridge. One of them is soba. It’s quick, easy and good! Just boil the noodles, chop some green onions, cut the seaweed into little strips and follow the directions of the soup base bottle. That’s it! Takes 15 minutes.

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We used two bundles for our dinner.

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Just dip the noodles and slurp away!

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Abby’s portion barely had any broth in it due to the salt content. I would say for that bowl we put a teaspoon of broth in. She liked it! She actually likes anything that has to do with noodles and slurping.

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Enjoy!

On The Menu: Yummy Orange Pouch

  • Mango, Carrot, Banana Pouch

Although I love making my own pouches, there are times where I buy some of the pouches in the baby stores for convenience. Our favorites are Plum and Ella’s Kitchen. My only hesitation in buying and feeding Abby the store bought pouches are that most of them are filled with apple or pear, they don’t have nearly as much nutrients as fresh made ones and it doesn’t taste as good (yes, I have tried all of them before giving it to Abby). This easy and simple recipe turned out to be a hit with Abby. She actually cried after the pouch was all done. She kept sucking and sucking and when nothing came out, she looked it at and cried. It was cute but so sad. This was part of her dinner that included chunks of salmon and one whole broccoli floret. These pouches are packed with Vitamin A and C as well as other great nutrients for baby.

The Yummy Orange Pouch (makes 4 4oz pouches)

  • 2 large carrots or 3 medium steamed
  • 1 large ripe mango
  • 1 banana

Toss them all into a blender, Vitamix, Beaba, Bullet or whatever you have at home and blend well. This is on the thicker side so add water to suit your baby’s needs. Freeze for future meals or snacks

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Hope your baby enjoys it as much as Abby did!

On The Menu: Steamed Bun Dumplings (jjin bbang mandoo)

I spent the majority of my life in Walnut, CA before moving here to Georgia. There is a Korean market on the corner of Colima and Fullerton in Rowland Heights. The ownership has changed but 15 years ago, my mom used to bring home steamed dumplings from that market. There was a lady that made them and gosh, they were so good! They were simple, flavorful and the bread had a really nice puff and springy texture to it. I still remember the flavors so well. There were green onions, glass noodles, meat and a slight ginger taste (no black mushrooms here, thank God!).  After a long day at Kumon or Saturday Korean School, my mom would ask me what I would want and these would be what I wanted. Fast forward to last year and with my mom being in China, she started learning different recipes and cooking techniques from the locals.  She called me so excited one day and told me she had learned a ridiculously easy recipe for the bun part of steamed dumplings. Yes, my mom and I get really excited about all things related to food and we can talk about food and recipes forever. Anyways, she told me all you need in water, sugar and self rising flour. I was confused. I asked her if she was sure and maybe she didn’t get all the ingredients but she kept saying “that’s it!” So in remembering the flavors from 15 years ago, here is my attempt at duplicating this delicious mandoo. Don’t expect the bread to come out super puffy. But it is delicate, spongy and dense enough to hold the filling. This is a great short cut recipe in lieu of using yeast and going through the whole proofing process that takes FOREVER. I just gave it to hubby and he literally said “WOW, these are really good!” He’s a really tough critic… seriously…

This recipe will yield 17-18 dumplings. You can cook all of them before freezing.

Filling:

  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • 5 tblsp soy sauce
  • 1 tblsp mirin or rice wine
  • 1 tblsp sugar
  • 5 bunches of green onion
  • 1 large garlic clove finely grated
  • 1/2 cup cooked and chopped glass noodles
  • 1 inch of ginger finely grated
  • 1/8 tsp of pepper

Combine all the ingredients and mix everything in well. I used a micro plane to grate the ginger and garlic. Once all the ingredients are mixed well, let the filling sit so the meat gets marinated. In the meantime, start the dough.

Bun Part

  • 3 cups of self rising flour
  • 1 cup of water+ 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 cup of sugar

Combine flour and sugar and mix well.  Add water slowly and incorporate to make a dough. This ratio worked for me but you might need less or more water. Basically, the dough needs to be stretchy enough to be rolled out and not sticky.

*Sorry for the quality of the picture. All I had on hand was my phone.

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Separate the dough and roll into 1.5-2 inch balls. This will make approximately 17-18 balls. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and the trick here is to make the outsides thinner than the center. You can do this by turning the dough clock wise while rolling the edges out. Roll out until the dough is about 5 inches in diameter. Put a dollop of filling in the center. I put about a little less than 2 tablespoons worth. Bring all the edges together in the center, pinch and twist. The dough should be moist enough for the edges to easily come together.

Line the steamer with parchment paper. Steam the dumplings for 20 minutes. For the first batch, I put them too closely together because I forgot that they would puff up so a couple of them stuck together. Make sure there is about an inch space between each dumpling.

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Oh, they were so good and so easy! The only part that takes some time is the rolling out part. Have a mandoo/dumpling party and you’ll be done in no time!

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Abby enjoyed these too! You can set a bit of filling aside before seasoning all of the meat. Season baby’s portion of the meat according to your baby’s tastes. They are soft but study enough for baby to hold.

Enjoy!