GF + Paleo = Thai Red Curry Spaghetti Squash with Chicken

Thai Spag Squash COVER

I mentioned a few posts back that I was starting a new adventure down the Paleo path.  I’ve been attempting gluten-free recipes and my taste buds have been surprisingly happy.  I feel like Paleo is gluten-free on steroids.   Sayonara grains, legumes, dairy, potatoes and refined salts, sugars and sweets.  Hello cavewoman!

This recipe can be as little as 4 ingredients or as many as you want!  Best part about this is that you have options.  You can make entirely in a crockpot if you have 4-5 hours to let it stew, or you can speed up the time and use the microwave (nothing about Paleo says no modern day equipment 🙂 ).

Thai Spag Squash ingredients

What you will need:

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash (3-4 lbs)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. red curry paste – I used Thai Kitchen – Publix has a ton of varieties and these are paleo!
  • 6 cloves glarlic
  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • parley for garnish

Step 1: Wash the squash.  Cut in half along the short side.  Scrape out the seeds.

Thai Spag Squash inside

Step 2: Microwave Magic!  Poke the top of the squash halves with a fork and place open side down on a microwave save bowl/plate.  Add a little bit of water to cover the bottom.  Microwave each half for 6 minutes.  Note: If you want to only use the crockpot, cooking time will increase from 1 hour to 4-5 hours.

Thai Spag Squash microwave cook

Step 3: The Secret Sauce. Mix the coconut mix and curry paste in the crock pot.  The crock pot should be on the low setting. Add 4 cloves of garlic, whole.  Slice the other 2 cloves and set aside for the chicken.

Thai Spag Squash sauce

Step 4:  Add some Protein.  Place chicken in a single layered baking dish.  Cover slightly with some of the coconut/curry mixture and top with garlic clove slices.  Set aside to marinate until about 20 minutes until the squash is done.  Then preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes or so until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Thai Spag Squash chicken

Step 5:  Crock Pot time!  Add the squash halves, open side down to the crock pot.  Now let it simmer for about 1 hour if you used the microwave or 4-5 hours if not.  The squash will be very, very hot and should be very soft at the end of the time.  You can see my squash didn’t fit completely in the crock pot… amateur move… make sure it fits!

Thai Spag Squash crock pot

Step 6: Prep the dish. After the crock pot time has elapsed.  remove the squash from the pot.  Using a fork, fork out (for lack of a better word) the insides of the squash.  It should come out easily and looking like spaghetti. Take the garlic from the pot and squash it.  Now add it back to the sauce and pour the sauce over the spaghetti.

Thai Spag Squash noodles

Once the chicken is done, top the plate with the Thai Curry Chicken and serve with Organic Wine YES, PALEO APPROVED!

This sweet girl wanted to play all night and knew exactly where her ball should go for me to get it.

GF pizza Emmie

Bon Appetite!

Quinoa with lemon chicken, pine nuts and tomatoes

Quinoa Cover

Quinoa.  “Keen-Wa.” It wasn’t until recently that I heard about quinoa.  Then I heard it everywhere.  It’s kind of like when you buy a pair of running shoes that you think are really unique and you’ve never seen them before and within days of your purchase, you spot your shoes on someone else.  And you want newer new shoes.  I guess that’s one of those #girlproblems

Anyway, when I was in Colorado a few months ago, quinoa was everywhere.  Every restaurant had multiple quinoa plates and people loved it.  I don’t see quinoa as much in Jacksonville, but I have spotted it at a few places recently.  First Watch has a great fall quinoa dish out right now.  Quinoa is gluten-free!  Yup, another GF dish!  This was the first time I made quinoa and actually the first time I’ve seen it in it’s uncooked state. (it’s nothing too exciting) I played it safe with a lemon chicken complement and I really liked this.  It was healthy yet hearty.  I was full without feeling that yucky full feeling if this was say, pasta.

So here’s my recipe for Quinoa with lemon chicken, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes. (Serves 4)

Quinoa ingedientsIngredients for the Quinoa dish:

  • 1 cup quinoa (rinse it well)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 handful cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Peppercorn Pepper and Sea Salt to taste

Ingredients for Lemon Chicken:

  • 4 chicken breasts – enough chicken for 4 people
  • 4 fresh lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • parsley, salt, pepper to taste

Step 1: Cook the Quinoa.  Just follow the directions on the package.  Or follow these…  In a medium saucepan, roast the 1 cup quinoa on medium heat for just a few minutes until it begins to darken.  No water yet.  It might make little popping noises (mine did anyway!). Make sure to stir.  After 3-5 minutes, add 1 1/2 cup water to the pan and bring to a boil.  Once you get a boil, simmer for 15-20 minutes.  When the Quinoa is done, you will see little tail-like things on the quinoa.

Quinoa cooking

Step 2:  Pine Nuts and Garlic.  While the Quinoa is cooking, roast the pine nuts for a few minutes in a saucepan until it has darkened.  I think this took about 3-5 minutes. Transfer these to a plate.  In the same saucepan (I hate doing dishes!) sauté the sliced garlic and parsley in coconut oil for 5-7 minutes.  Transfer garlic and any remaining oil to the pine nut plate.

Quinoa with flavors

Step 3: Mix it all together.  Once the quinoa is done, add the pine nuts, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and cherry tomatoes (sliced in half).  Fluff the quinoa and let the dish sit for about 5 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

 

 

This is what the Quinoa looks like when it’s done:

Quinoa after coook

While you’re making the Quinoa, you can bake the chicken too.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place chicken in a glass baking dish and cover with lemon juice, garlic (I liked sliced garlic for this), parsley, salt and pepper. Bake for about 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.  Do not over bake or the chicken will be tough.

I also baked zucchini slices with a little cayenne seasoning.  This dish could have been served in a bowl and eaten like that but my zucchini was going bad and had to be eaten soon.  Plus the green added more color to the plate, right?

This dish was actually really good.  Simple but tasty.  I did a poll of friends and not everyone loves quinoa (WhAt?!) but I’m determined to find more flavorful recipes!  What do you like with your Quinoa?

Quinoa Cover

Bon Appetite!

Thai Rice Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Thai Peanut COVERSpicy… Peanut Butter… Veggies… An interesting combo that yields a terrific result!  When I was in Colorado, Susan and I made a peanut sauce dish that was amazing.  When I got back to Jax, I wanted to try it again with a few changes.  The result?  Well I only have one picture of the final product so that should tell you something right there!

I really think the magic is in the sauce on this one.  If you nail the sauce, the dish will delight no matter what’s in it!  Whether you want to go with a vegetarian dish or add meat, like chicken, the magic is in the sauce!  So let’s start there!

Thai peanut sauce

Spicy Peanut Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp gluten free soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger root
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh cilantro

Thai peanut sauce mix

In a food processor (or a blender or just a bowl, but I like how the food processor really combines all the ingredients), mix all ingredients.  Adjust as you need.  I threw in some cayenne pepper because I wanted more kick!  And that’s all there is to this sauce!  No heating.  No mess.  Just wonderful yumminess.

I much as I like sides and sauces and I even tried to make a sauce dish dinner once, I know you need more than just this flavor packed sauce…

So for those of you who want to eat a (complete) meal…

Thai Rice Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce

The next step to this dish is to sauté the veggies.  Choose any veggies you want but the more veggies you have, the healthier and more colorful the dish becomes.  Just cut the veggies into a size that you would want to eat whole.  I used the following:

  • one handful of broccoliThai veggies
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 squash, chopped
  • a handful of baby carrots (had this in the fridge), chopped
  • half a red pepper, chopped
  • half a yellow pepper, chopped (only because I has some left over)

Let these sauté until they are a nice tenderness for you.  I’ve heard the longer you cook veggies the less nutritional value they have.  So be your own timer… I like soft veggies… don’t judge me! 😦

Thai veggie saute

While the veggies are cooking, it’s time to cook the onions, garlic and chicken.  In another saucepan, add 1 whole onion, 1 clove of garlic, minced and a little coconut oil.

Thai onions

Next, add the chopped chicken.  When I added the chicken, I threw in a little parsley too.  Add some peanut sauce – just enough to coat the chicken – and cook thoroughly.

Thai chicken cooking

Buy some Thai Rice Noodles and cook according to the package instructions.  I did this very last since the noodles cooked in less than 5 minutes.

Finally, combine it all together!  I suggest putting everything in a bowl in the following order….  Noodles, veggies, chicken, peanut sauce, cashews or peanuts and parsley.

This is seriously one of the best-gluten-free-healthiest-tastiest-filling-cuisines I’ve ever had!  It made great leftovers and I can’t wait to make it again! – after writing this post, I am getting a craving for some very soon!

Thai Chicken

Bon Appetite!!