I always shy away from the chicken dish at a restaurant, because chicken just tastes like chicken – rather bland and not all that interesting. Part of the problem is that restaurants tend to serve chicken breast, which I’ve always found to be dry and seriously lacking in any flavor. Well, this recipe was amazing – a huge burst of flavor. I found it on food.com, and I’ve so far only made it with drumsticks and wings, but I can’t wait to try it with chicken breasts to see if they can spice them up too! It’s a slow-cooker recipe, which means it’s super easy – but it does require a lot of spices (although you can probably make it with just salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, and onion powder). It’s also a very very cheap dish!
Ingredients (makes 5 drumsticks and 5 wings)
Need some mash to go with those bangers? I found this great recipe for mashed cauliflower on foodnetwork.com and then modified it a touch to make it more buttery.
Ingredients (makes 4 medium portions)
Sausages are a low-carber’s dear old friends. They’re loyal, simple, down-to-earth and always ready to provide you with a delicious and healthy meal. My favorite sausages are these Apple Gouda ones from Niman Ranch. I know all Americans think that apple goes best with cinnamon, but really it’s apple and gouda that should win the best combo prize! And not only are they tasty, but they’re also healthy (no antibiotics, hormones and your pigs aren’t getting fed other pigs!). There’s a bit of sugar (probably from the apples), but unless you’re having 20 of these sausages a day, you’ll be well within the carb limit for most low carb diets.
“I pick up 3 or 4 packs of these every time I go to Wholefoods”
Wholefoods sells these sausages and various other Niman Ranch sausages for around $6.99 per pack. This may seem pricey, but honestly, I can’t eat more than 2 sausages per meal (and my boyfriend has trouble eating more than 3 per meal). So, one pack of these sausages with some vegetables would make a meal for 2 (which is seriously cheap for New York City). I pick up 3 or 4 packs of these every time I go to Wholefoods, which is about once a week, because Wholefoods sometimes runs out of this flavor. Although Wholefoods sells the sausages in the refrigerated section, I actually put them into my freezer as soon as I get home. They keep for a long time and are easy to thaw out (although you do end up having to cook all 4 sausages in the pack since you can’t thaw them out individually).
The cooking instructions on the back of the pack suggest heating in a frying pan, but there are other options obviously. If you have a grill, then that method is great. If you’re lazy, then try just putting it in the microwave (I’ve definitely done that before, and since the sausages are pre-cooked, you don’t have to worry about making sure you don’t get food poisoning from under-cooking them). Unfortunately, I don’t have a grill (a distinct disadvantage of living in NYC), but I still like that charred taste to my sausages, which microwave cooking doesn’t provide. Solution – the broiler (it’s part of most ovens).
“you can have them with some cauliflower mash to create your own version of the British bangers and mash!”
So, after I take the frozen sausages out of the packaging, I put them on a plate and defrost them in the microwave for three and a half minutes so that they’re not frozen rock solid anymore but are still cool to the touch. I then put them onto a sheet of aluminum (I spelled it the American way!) foil on the top rack of the oven and switch on the broiler. If your broiler has a high/low setting, then put it on high. Broil them for 8 minutes but flip them over after every 2 minutes. It takes a bit of effort having to flip them over four times, but the results are worth it. Total cooking time with defrosting is still only 12 minutes (since there’s no preparation required), which makes this a speedy meal to prepare. You can pair the sausages with some sauerkraut, which Wholefoods also sells, for a German meal, or you can have them with some cauliflower mash (faux mashed potatoes) to create your own version of the British bangers and mash!
I was very skeptical when I first read about faux fried rice on nomnompaleo, which is a really interesting paleo blog, but it actually tastes amazing and very close to rice. The basis of the recipe is cauliflower chopped up in a food processor to simulate a fake rice look and texture. Personally, I think a more accurate description would be faux cous cous because the cauliflower bits you’re left with are very small. You can add pretty much anything (or nothing) to the chopped cauliflower for your dish (so it can be as simple or as complicated as you want). Below are some recipes I’ve come up with (modifying the basic idea that I got from Nomnompaleo). The first recipe is just a basic faux white rice, and the second is a Chinese fried rice (there’s a Thai version too). Countless other variations are possible!
Basic Faux White Rice (serves 2 adults)
Chinese Faux Fried Rice (for Thai Fried Rice, switch the green onions and cilantro for basil)
There are some simple inventions that I wish I could have thought of! Toilet seat covers is one of them (I never understand why people laugh at me when I tell them that!) and the slow cooker is another. I’ve always hated cooking meat. I usually either undercook the meat or burn it until it disintegrates into bits of black soot. The slow cooker is simple. It’s pretty hard to undercook it or overcook it! No matter what you do – the meat always comes out tender and full of flavor! So, here’s my recipe (modifications you can make to the basic recipe are at the end):
What you will need:
Wasn’t that simple?? I like the 8 hours cook time because if your slow cooker doesn’t have a timer (like mine), then you can put the meat in just before bed and then voila it’s all cooked when you get up in the morning. You can then take it out of the slow cooker, place it on a plate to cool for a bit and then stick it into the fridge.
You can eat the meat just by itself or with some extra soy sauce or chili sauce for more flavor. I like to put the meat in the fridge so that it hardens a bit and then to cut it into thin slices. I then dip it in soy sauce or chili sauce.