Starters and Side Dishes

Lemon Parsley Chicken

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I’m a fan of any dish you can cook in just one pan. This lemon and Parsley Chicken recipe is simple, fast and sure to please!

You’ll need a large skillet/ frying pan with a lid. (This can easily be made in larger or smaller quantities, as the measurements are approximate.) I always recommend cooking in bulk and having breakfast or lunch nearly prepared the next day!

Serve with a salad, roasted or mashed sweet (or regular!) potato or steamed vegetables.

 

Ingredients:
Approximately 2-3 lbs chicken drumsticks
1 medium purple onion, cut into slices
2-3 Tbsp ghee or coconut oil
2-3 lemons, cut into quarters
1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Steps:
1) In a large skillet, cook onion in ghee or coconut oil over medium heat.
2) Once the onions start to become translucent, add chicken drumsticks.
3) Squeeze the lemon over the chicken. Add lemon rinds to the skillet with the chicken. (You can use a cheese/veggie grater or a zester on the lemon, too)
4) Add 1/2 the parsley and sea salt and black pepper as desired.
5) Continue to cook over medium heat until one side of the chicken is browned, approximately 12-15 minutes.
6) Flip the drumsticks, turn heat to medium-low, cover and continue to cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. Garnish with remaining parsley (maybe more salt and pepper) and serve.

Enjoy!

Easy Chicken Drumsticks with Sweet Potato

I’ve posted a similar recipe HERE, before, using chicken thighs. I tend to buy drumsticks because, well, 1) they’re less expensive and 2) they include the skin and the bone, both of which are critical for optimal Vitamin D and glycine consumption. Glycine is an amino acid that we derive from skin, bones and cartilage of animals. You can also get glycine from legumes, but if you’re eating a Paleo diet, legumes are not part of your regimen.

This recipe is quick, has few ingredients and uses one pan and has very little prep time or steps. Because of this, it happens to be a meal that I make fairly often in the fall when sweet potatoes seem to be delicious with anything.

Ingredients
2-3 lbs chicken drumsticks (pastured)
2 medium sweet potatoes
A few leaves of fresh sage (adding fresh rosemary is also delicious)
2-3 Tbsp butter (I tend to use Kerrygold from the store or a butter from a local farm that is unpasturized)
1 tsp ground mustard
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Slice the sweet potatoes into thin slices. (Keep in mind that the thinner the slice, the fast they will cook.)
Line the sweet potatoes in a baking dish and top with fresh herbs, as pictured below

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Top the sweet potato slices with the drumsticks, as pictured below

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Sprinkle the ground mustard, black pepper and salt over the chicken
Bake at 400 for 35 minutes
Allow the chicken to cool for a few minutes before serving

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Enjoy!

(No Bake) Protein Cookies

I’m originally from Maine, and stand behind good, local products. Stronger Faster Healthier has a great whey protein product that is designed, formulated and produced in Warren, Maine.  They are GMO free and derive their whey from free range and grass fed cows. On their website, SFH states: “Our mission has been consistent: The combination of a clean diet, exercise, along with clean supplementation (high-strength fish oil and high-quality protein) leads to long term health by keeping your inflammation levels down and adding lean muscle.”

Sometimes I want a quick snack, or something I can grab and go and eat later in the car while on the road. Most snacks and grab-and-go foods are loaded with refined sugars, processed oils and extra (unpronounceable) ingredients that I don’t necessarily want to consume. Naturally, I made something that is quick, healthy and contains a good amount of protein for sustained energy throughout my mornings. It requires zero cook time, little clean up and a quick use of a food processor. Plus, you can make these in bulk and freeze them easily!

Ingredients
10 pitted Medjool dates
2 scoops of Chocolate whey protein (I used SFH- Stronger Faster Healthier Grass-fed Whey)
1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup almonds (you can sub for a different nut if want to!)
2 tsp vanilla extract

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Instructions
If your dates are not pitted, remove the seed before proceeding
Blend all ingredients in a food processor until you reach your desired consistency
(as pictured, I prefer some larger pieces of nuts and dates in my cookies)
If your mixture is quite dry, you can add a tsp of water and continue to blend

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Roll bite-size balls of the dough in your hands and flatten into cookies

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For best results, place cookies in the refrigerator for approximately 1 hour before consuming

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I keep mine in a glass pyrex dish in the fridge!

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Enjoy!

You can also purchase SFH Whey Protein HERE on Amazon (Affiliate link)

 

Mexican Stuffed Peppers with Mango Salsa

I’ve always liked stuffed peppers; my mom used to make them with a tomato sauce, white rice and ground beef stuffed into a green bell pepper and covered with cheese. I have always liked tacos, too. This recipe was my (successful) attempt to mix the best of both- a mexican-style stuffed pepper. Pair the stuffed pepper (with slightly spicy ground beef) with a side of sweet mango salsa and it is absolutely delicious! (Of course, I am biased…)

Ingredients for Stuffed Peppers:
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 small bunch chopped fresh cilantro
1-2 tsp chili powder (depending on spice preference) 
1/2 tsp cumin
2 fresh garlic cloves, chopped
3 peppers (for stuffing)
1 cup tomato salsa for topping

Ground beef cilantro onion

Steps:
In a skillet or frying pan, add butter, onion, garlic, spices, cilantro and ground beef
(set peppers and salsa aside for now)
Cook over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the beef as it cooks

While beef is cooking, prepare your Mango Salsa

Ingredients for Mango Salsa:
1 cup chopped mango (can use frozen and thaw out, or cut fresh mango)
Small bunch fresh chopped cilantro
Small bunch fresh chopped dill
1/4 chopped red onion
(I also like to add tomatoes)

Mango Salsa Ingredients

Steps: 
Mix all ingredients together

Mango Salsa from Keirstens Kitchen

Now for the rest of the stuffed peppers…

Once the beef is done, set aside
Preheat oven to 375 F
Cut peppers in half and de-seed, as pictured below

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Stuff the peppers with the cooked beef mixture
Top with salsa
Bake at 375 for approximately 15 minutes, or until peppers are desired texture (I like mine still a bit firm)

Keirstens Kitchen Stuffed Peppers

Remove from oven and allow a few minutes to cool before serving

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Enjoy!

Keirstens Kitchen Stuffed Peppers with Mango Salsa and Avocado

Suggested purchase: Glass Pyrex baking dishes! You can get a set of 3, HERE on Amazon for $20.00 (at time of post) and they even have lids. You can bake in these, then cover and refrigerate. Easy to hold leftovers and oven and dishwasher safe! 

Nettle Pesto aka “Nesto!”

SAMSUNGNettles are available during the later spring and deep into summer, as long as you know where to find them (and you have a pair of gloves!) You may have come across nettle before- a small plant that leaves your feet and shins stinging, burning and itching with small bumps- hence the name, “Stinging Nettle!” Despite the name and reputation as a “poisonous plant” nettles are a delicious wild food that offers beneficial medicinal properties!

Nettles often grow along larger rivers. If the young shoots are less than 6cm in height, you can gather these without gloves and can eat them raw (added to salads, etc in the early spring.) As the summer progresses, the plants get taller and the stinging hairs appear. This is when you’ll want your gloves to harvest!SAMSUNG

Nettle can grow to about 2-4 feet tall. The somewhat tear-drop shaped, dark green, opposite leaves are a few inches long, with very coarse teeth. The leaf tip is pointed, and its base is heart-shaped (as pictured.) The stalks, stems and leaves contain tiny hairs and look fuzzy.  The stems and leaves are both edible when prepared correctly (stinging compounds deactivated.)

It is quite easy to remove the stinging from the nettles so they can be consumed safely.

Instructions for Collection and General Preparation:

SAMSUNG1. Collect your nettles. Be sure to practice sustainable foraging methods as to allow future nettle crops to continue to flourish! Use gloves to prevent stinging and burning from the nettles. (Also consider your arms, as you’ll likely be reaching into bushes of nettles!)

2. Rinse the nettles in a strainer.

3. In a large pot, add the nettles and enough water to cover them. I like to add a pinch of sea salt as well.

 

SAMSUNG4. Bring the nettles to a boil. Allow them to boil for about 10 minutes. (When I strain the water from the cooked nettles, I like to save some to add to soup broths!)

You can can the cooked nettles (follow instructions for canned greens.) You can freeze them for longer storage or refrigerate them for more immediate use.

Nettles are often called a “super food” because they rich in chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, protein and amino acids.  Nettles are 29 times higher in Calcium and 9 times higher in Iron than spinach (which is typically touted as a superfood!) Nettles are tonic to the liver, blood and kidneys, aiding in a necessary process of detoxification of the body; they are a reliable diuretic that balances blood pH and filters waste from the body, including uric acid.  This process can be especially useful in the treatment of arthritis, gout, eczema and skin rashes and irritations. Nettles contain homeostatic properties, or a remedy to stop bleeding.  A strong decoction (boiling to make a tea, for example, or steeping to make a tincture) is traditionally used to treat wounds and hemorrhage.  This can assist with building blood after menstruation, birth or other blood loss. When nettles are fresh, tinctured or freeze-dried they have anti-histamine qualities that may be effective for acute allergic reactions.  Nettles are both astringent and anti-inflammatory, which help with the symptoms of allergies and many other ailments.

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I prepared my first nettle recipe last spring after collecting a small bag full along a river- Nettle Pesto, aka Nesto. Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:
1 bunch of nettles (approx 6 cups raw, approx 2 1/2-3 cups after boiled- instructions above)
2 garlic cloves, raw
Pinch of sea salt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 small bunch basil
1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
Optional: 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

(I have also made this with goat cheese added- delicious!)

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Nesto Instructions:
1. Prepare the nettles according to the boiling directions, above.
2. Strain the nettles and allow to cool for a few minutes before proceeding.
3. While the nettles are cooling, add all other ingredients to a food processor. I like to save a few nuts to top the nest when plated.
4. Add the nettles and blend until the mixture is the texture of pesto.

Enjoy the Nesto as a dip to your favorite vegetable, add a spoonful of Nesto to more olive and a bit of vinegar for a delicious salad dressing, or use on top of your favorite meats or grilled vegetables!

You can opt to use this Nesto in place of pesto in mostly any recipe.

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Enjoy!

 

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For additional information on spring foraging, check out Arthur Haines’ Youtube video on Spring Foraging. 

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Celery Root Fries

Celery root is something that I had never thought to purchase, mostly because I had no idea how to prepare it. I have purchased this root vegetable several times now, and have made salads, mashes and added it to soups and stews. Celery root can be eaten raw or cooked. I have more recipes to post soon using celery root in a few different ways. Stay tuned!

I asked a question on facebook fairly recently about foods that parents wish their kids would eat, and some wrote in and said that they wished their kids would eat more root vegetables. So, I figured, if it can me made into a fry, it would have a better chance at being consumed!

This was a quick, experimental recipe that yielded two thumbs up from my neices and nephews, who are mostly open to trying lots of new things, especially if they are made in Keirsten’s Kitchen! We sometimes pretend that my kitchen is a restaurant where they can order the food and eat it in my living room. They love it.

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