Zaatar Chicken Sandwiches

This is a nice and simple sandwich that can be dressed a bunch of ways and has a good mix of protein, fats and carbs. I served these as a stand-alone for dinner and was satisfied.

high protein

This picture is tragic, but I was starving

Zaatar Chicken Sandwiches

150g chicken breast per person, sliced into thin strips

2 Tbsp. zaatar

Salt & pepper

Drizzle chicken with a touch of oil (a teaspoon worth max), toss with spices and air fry 7 minutes, shaking a couple times during cooking.

Whisk together:

1/4 c. yogurt

2 Tbsp. fresh dill, minced

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

2 Tbsp. lemon juice (more if necessary to add more zing – I started with this amount and kept adding to mask the taste of coconut yogurt)

1 Tbsp. garlic powder (more if necessary)

Salt & pepper

Toppers:

Sliced avocado

Sliced cherry tomatoes

Sautéed mushrooms & bell peppers

Sliced olives

Cucumber strips

Stuff a pita with chicken, top with veggies of your choice & yogurt sauce.

My pita ended up not being able to hold all the chicken I needed to hit my 150g protein macro, so I had a little extra in the side – along with the avocado, which kept leaping out of my sandwich. Delicious.

Bulgogi-Style Chicken Bowl

This spin on a bulgogi bowl was my favorite dish of the week, and with a 150g of chicken serving, it helped meet my protein goal for the day with 33g.

gluten-free

Bulgogi-Style Chicken Bowl

500g boneless, skinless chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces

Marinade

1 crisp apple, grated

1 pear, grated

2 inches ginger, grated

4 cloves garlic, grated

1/4 onion, grated

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp. gochujiang

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 tsp. date molasses, honey or sugar

Combine all ingredients and marinate chicken for a few hours. To cook, I air fried the chicken for 10 minutes, shaking every few. Note: this marinade is a bit wet for the air fryer and it kind of made a mess, but it was workable; I just had a bit of cleaning to do afterward.

Bowl Base

1 package broccolini, chopped

Optional: shiritaki noodles, rice, etc.

Prep your bowl base. I air fried broccolini tossed in a scant teaspoon oil, salt and pepper for 7 minutes. I meant to bulk the dish up some with shiritaki, but ended up being not so starving for dinner. Broccolini worked great.

Toppers

1 scallion, minced

Nice amount of kimchi

1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks

1 fried egg

Optional: sesame seeds, teriyaki sauce, sriracha mayo, sliced nori

The chicken makes 3 servings, the toppings as written 2

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

I love it when a recipe turns out exactly how I pictured in my minds’ eye. I was craving buffalo chicken dip and wanted to give my Ranch powder a whirl – and I’m glad I did. This dish held up really well as leftovers.

gluten-free, paleo (if you use paleo ranch seasoning), low carb

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

1 lb. ground chicken

3 Tbsp. ranch seasoning powder

1 rib minced celery

An equal amount grated carrot

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

1 Tbsp. onion powder

4 Tbsp. buffalo hot sauce

2 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water

2 tsp. butter, softened

Generous pinch salt and generous dusting pepper

Prepare a baking sheet and preheat your oven to 200C/375F.

Mix all ingredients by hand, form into golf ball sized meatballs, and place on the baking sheet.

Bake 15 minutes.

I served these with Ranch sweet potato fries (pictured).

To make, peel 2 small sweet potatoes and cut into fry-shaped sticks. Toss with a little oil or ghee, salt & pepper and 2 Tbsp. ranch powder. Arrange in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet and bake 20 minutes.

Flip, scootch over to the side, add the meatballs and bake another 15 minutes with the meatballs.

Serves 3 – 4 for dinner/lunch

Middle Eastern Spiced Meatballs

This is a good one – baked meatballs are quick to make and last in the fridge for days – a great meal prep component or emergency snack to keep on hand.

gluten-free, paleo, low carb

Middle Eastern Spiced Meatballs

1 lb. ground chicken

3 Tbsp. zaatar

1/4 c. slivered pistachios

2 tsp. sumac or lemon powder

1 small onion, grated

4 cloves garlic, grated

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water

Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 200C/375F. Prepare a baking sheet.

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix with your hands to combine.

Form into meatballs and bake 15 minutes.

Makes enough for 4 servings

Bonus Recipe: A quick side salad to go with

2 cucumbers, cut into small moons

15 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 Tbsp. green onions, minced

2 cloves garlic, grated

1/4 c. parsley, chopped

Hand full of olives, sliced thin

Hand full of your favorite salty cheese (I used an aged provolone tasting vegan cheese)

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. your favorite mustard (I used Dijon)

1 Tbsp. zaatar

Salt & pepper

Whisk together all ingredients from the olive oil down. Pour over the rest.

Salad serves 2-3

Eggplant Curry With Meatballs

Ooh, this is a sneaky good one. I had *hoped* it would turn out well, but don’t have the best track record when I’m winging a coconut-based curry.

I’m happy to report that bland track record has been rectified – this dish is zippy, tangy, and still manages to give that ‘hug in a bowl’ feeling of a good coconut broth. Plus: it’s paleo, which is even better feeling for my particular body – and I didn’t miss the rice one bit.

gluten-free, paleo

Eggplant Curry With Meatballs

First, make the curry so it can simmer while the meatballs cook.

2 small potatoes (white and kinda waxy – you want something that won’t fall to mush after a good simmer)

1 medium purple eggplant

1/4 cup tamarind paste (this one is good)

1 Tbsp. roasted chili paste (this one is good)

1 can full fat coconut milk

1/2 cup good broth (I used a homemade combo chicken & ham bone broth)

Heaping Tablespoon of your favorite curry powder

Small chop the potatoes and eggplant. Add to a large pan over medium heat with a couple teaspoons neutral oil. Hit with a little salt and pepper.

Sauté a couple minutes while you gather the rest of your ingredients.

Add the stock, bring up to a simmer and let cook a couple more minutes.

Add the tamarind and chili pastes. Stir well to combine.

Add the coconut milk. Stir to combine.

Add the curry powder. Stir to combine. Bring up to a simmer, kick the heat back and let barely burble 20 minutes or until the potatoes are well cooked and the eggplant is super soft. Taste. Add a little more salt and pepper if necessary.

While the curry is working, make the meatballs.

Preheat the oven to 375F/200C. Prepare a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, combine:

1 lb. ground chicken

1/4 red onion, grated

1/4 red onion, minced

1/4 cup cilantro, minced

1 Tbsp. baking soda mixed in 1 Tbsp. water to form a slurry

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 inch ginger, grated

1 Tbsp. your favorite curry powder

Salt & pepper

Form your meat mixture into ping pong sized balls and arrange on the sheet.

Bake 15 minutes while the curry works.

To serve, a squeeze of lime is nice on top but isn’t necessary.

Serves 3 – 4 for dinner

Non Dairy Greek-Style Frychos

This recipe came about because of a video from one of my favorite kitchen hack channels: RachLovesLife. She’s got a ton of videos testing viral recipes, and they’ve been great fun to watch over this past year & some change of varying levels of lockdown. She did a recipe on fry hacks, and this was something she mentioned wanting to morph one of them into – just with my own non-dairy twist, ‘cause I’m not trying to die.

gluten-free, non-dairy, comfort

Non Dairy Greek-style Frychos

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 bell pepper

1 red onion

2 cloves garlic

1/2 batch this 6-ingredient vegan tzatziki sauce from the Minimalist Baker

1/2 a block of vegan cheese (this is the one I used)

Olive oil

Salt, pepper, oregano

Optional toppers: sundried tomatoes, black olives

1/2 a bag of your favorite fries (I used McCann’s crinkle cut)

Chop the onion and pepper fairly small. Mince the garlic. Add to a pan with a couple teaspoons oil and sautee over medium until soft. If the heat is a little high and the mix looks like it’s going to burn before getting nice and soft, hit with a little water and let that evaporate off as the mixture steams a bit. Make sure to hit with salt, pepper and a couple teaspoons oregano as the mix cooks to season.

While the mix works, add the fries to the oven and bake according to package directions. Salt about halfway through baking.

After the veggies are done, remove from the pan.

Add the chicken, chopped into small bites, with a Tablespoon of oil. Sautée, seasoning with salt, pepper and oregano, until cooked through.

Set aside when fully cooked.

Dice or shred the cheese.

When the fries are browned to your liking, pull from the oven, and sprinkle with the cheese. Pop back into the oven long enough to melt the cheese.

To serve, pile cheesy fries on a plate, top with chicken & veggies, drizzle sauce over top and finish with the optional toppers.

Serves 2 for dinner with enough left over toppings for another couple meals – or a nice pasta the next night

Mediterranean Chicken Bake

This one is a pretty, pretty show stopper. Just look at that Insta bait.

Not only is this pretty enough to entertain with, it’s delicious. And low key Mediterranean enough to not squick out my wary-of-all-things-Med-DH.

I also want to just eat this cheese every day. Sitting in the house while this baked was t-o-r-t-u-r-e.

Gluten-free

Mediterranean Chicken Bake

3 – 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (sub your favorite chicken)

1 lemon

1 small red onion

2 cloves garlic

A few small vine ripened tomatoes or Roma tomatoes

Vegan feta (this is my favorite)

1/2 c. good stock

Salt, pepper & olive oil

Oregano

Optional add-ins: Zaatar, fresh parsley, your favorite olives, pine nuts

I served last week’s Garden Orzo alongside and it was the perfect accompaniment

Preheat your oven to 200C/375F.

Arrange the chicken in the bottom of a pan (or sheet tray). Sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano on both sides.

Chop the onion and garlic and add to the pan. Halve the lemon and add.

Nestle the tomatoes around the chicken. Pour the stock in and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake 10 minutes, chuck the cheese on top and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese at least begins to brown.

Top with a generous sprinkle parsley, one of the squeezed lemon halves, a sprinkle of Zaatar, and the olives if you like olives. I love them and ended up eating the whole hand full in one sitting.

Serves 3 – 4 for dinner – take care to double the orzo recipe if you are serving 4; you could stretch it if you’ve got dinner bread to 3, but 4 would be a bit light of a meal

Sheet Pan Miso Bowl

This is a simple and quick sheet pan dinner with a nice, light taste for nights when you *want* some super unhealthy Japanese takeout, but don’t want a bunch of grease – or to wait for delivery.

gluten-free

Sheet Pan Miso Bowl

1.5 Tbsp. miso

1.5 Tbsp. brown sugar

1.5 Tbsp. date molasses (or a smaller amount of honey or other sugar)

3 Tbsp. soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos

3 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 bell pepper

2 – 3 carrots

2 – 3 chicken breasts or other protein

Preheat your oven to 200C/375F and prepare a baking sheet.

Combine all the wet ingredients together, mashing the miso with the back of a spoon to break it up better. Set aside.

Chop the chicken, carrots and pepper into bite-sized pieces, placing all onto the prepared baking sheet.

Pour 2/3 of the sauce over top and toss well to combine.

Spread the chicken & veggies out in a single layer over the baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Take the last third of the sauce, zap it in the microwave about 20 seconds to ensure the sugar is melted. Add a Tablespoon of water to thin the sauce a bit. Stir well to combine and toss with the cooked chicken & veggies before serving.

Serve with rice, cauli rice, noodles, or alone.

Serves 4

Hot Mustard Chicken with Carrot Fries

What to do with some rapidly wrinkling carrots and an abundance of hot sauce? Spicy chicken with carrot fries. Yum.

Hot Mustard Chicken with Carrot Fries

2 medium carrots

2 – 3 chicken breasts

2 Tbsp. yellow mustard

2 Tbsp. your favorite hot sauce (I used a garlic variety)

1 Tbsp. Maggi chicken seasoning (I used Magic Sarap, but this isn’t strictly paleo – regular chicken seasoning would work just as well)

2 tsp. garlic powder

Juice of 1 lime

1 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder

1 – 2 Tbsp. fat of choice

2 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. chipotle seasoning

Salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F.

Halve and slice your carrots into roughly fry-shaped pieces. Toss with the oil, cornstarch/arrowroot powder, chipotle seasoning and salt & pepper.

Spread out in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet.

Bake 15 minutes, flip, and bake an additional 10 – 15 minutes or until your desired crispness is reached.

While the fries are working, chop your chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Toss with the mustard, hot sauce, maggi, garlic powder, lime juice, salt & pepper.

When the fries are ready to flip, scoot them all to 1 side of the baking sheet. Add the chicken to the other side in a single layer and bake.

The fries serve 2, the chicken 3

Cuban Style Citrus Garlic Bowl

This recipe came out of missing the goodness that is Trader Joe’s grab-n-go food. DH stumbled upon a roundup of the top go-tos for nutritionists somewhere on the Internets, and thought a few of the dishes sounded great – too bad we don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby.

I was sure I could create something that tasted at least good from the description. Probably isn’t what their version tastes like, but good nonetheless. We also didn’t know at the time, but we have been sorely missing Cuban food. Semi-passable Mexican is hard enough to find here; Cuban is impossible.

This recipe also uses cocktails in place of the bitter or sour orange featured heavily in Cuban meat marinades – I think it worked out pretty well, but were I to make this again, I’d maybe slip a teaspoon or two in after cooking to add a little bitter punch to the dish. I don’t think it would taste *quite* the same, but it will at least give that element that’s present in my favorite Cuban dishes. If you have access to mojo sauce, that would also be fantastic sprinkled over top.

gluten-free, can easily be made paleo with substitutions

Cuban Style Citrus Garlic Bowl

For the chicken:

1 roasting or stewing chicken

4-6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small white onion, chopped

1 bell pepper – any color, chopped

4 ounce can puréed tomatoes

2 teaspoons salt

Generous sprinkle black pepper

3-4 bay leaves

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

Juice & zest of 1 orange

1 Tablespoon orange cocktail bitters + more if desired

1.5 cups nice broth

1.5 cups water

1.5 teaspoons your favorite stock starter powder (you want about 3 cups of liquid – I had some nice mixed meats bone broth and use chicken-free chicken bouillon starter powder to make my quick-n-dirty stocks)

For the bowl base:

1 cup long grain rice (or cauli rice if you’re paleo)

1 cup reserved stock from the (cooked) chicken

1 cup water

Generous pinch salt

1 Tablespoon ghee or butter

Bowl accents:

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small white onion, diced (reserve 2 Tablespoons)

1 bell pepper of any color, diced (reserve 2 Tablespoons)

Neutral oil

Salt & pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon “chicken” bouillon starter

Your favorite black beans (optional. DH found some pre-cooked Cuban style beans in a pouch – they’re amazing if you can eat them. Fillos is the brand)

2 plantains

Toppers:

Reserved raw pepper & onion

Chopped cilantro

Your favorite hot sauce (ours came from the Hot Ones sampler pack we got for Christmas – Hot Ones, if you’ve never heard of it is not only a hilarious YouTube channel filled with celebrities eating ridiculously hot wings, but is also a fun way to play wing roulette at home )

First, dump all the chicken ingredients in your electric cooker or stew pot. I cooked mine for 1 hour on the “meat” setting of my electric cooker. Your mileage may vary.

When the chicken is cooked through and falling off the bone, remove from the cooker and set to cool.

Add the rice ingredients to your cooker (swiping a cup of that yummy chicken liquid you just emptied out of the pot). Set your rice to cook. I left mine in the pot on the warming setting for awhile (half an hour-ish) after it finished, and the bottom browned and crisped a bit – y-u-m.

While the rice is cooking, sauté your diced pepper and onion in 1 teaspoon neutral oil. Season with cumin, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper. Remove when softened and starting to brown. Wipe the pan.

To your wiped pan, add enough neutral oil to cover the bottom. Set over medium-high. Quickly slice the plantains into half inch thick rounds while the oil heats to shimmering.

Add the plantains one at a time (carefully so you don’t splatter oil on yourself) so they are flat and not crowded in the pan (I did mine in two batches). Once they are all nestled in the pan, flip, starting with the first. Let brown and remove to a few paper towels folded in on themselves a few times. Sprinkle immediately with coarse salt.

Repeat with your second batch, remove and salt.

Heat your black beans if using.

To serve, use the rice (or rice analog) as a base, add the chicken and accents and sprinkle with the toppers. Add some hot sauce if desired.

Serves 4 (the rice and accents) and more (the chicken)