Chicken Satay with Coconut and Mango Jasmine Rice

 

It only takes a few key ingredients added to rice to maximize flavor and leave a lasting impression. ~ by Diane Boyd, MBA, RD, LDN

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Disclosure:  By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by USA Rice Federation and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

March is a special month. It’s the month my colleagues and I get a little crazy… no I’m not talking March madness, I’m talking National Nutrition Month. Whoot! Whoot! Our theme this year incorporates food and behavior

Bite into a healthy lifestyle.

 Here’s my first suggestion for an improved lifestyle:

Think U.S.- Grown Rice!

Yep, that’s it. No need to make this complicated.  Rice is  nutritious, sustainable, safe, locally-grown, and GMO-free! ( Look for the “Grown in the USA Rice” label on packaging.) Rice is also gluten free and the least allergenic of all grains, making it a great option for individuals with gluten sensitivity  or intolerance.  It’s  so  versatile and  pairs well with the foods we all need to be eating more of: fruits, vegetables and lean protein. I’m  smitten with the  nutty taste of brown rice (especially in my  Brown Rice and Pumpkin Risotto).  Studies link whole grains, such as brown rice, to a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even some cancers. The rest of my family prefers white enriched rice (in dishes like my Copycat Ginger-Seasame Braised Chicken Meatballs). Here’s the good news: brown rice and white enriched rice are a desirable part of a healthy diet! Both are naturally low in sodium, cholesterol free, trans fat free, and contain only a trace of fat.

If I still haven’t convinced you to think U.S.- grown rice,  let me ask you this, ….  ”faster is better, right?”  So for a fast, casual meal, use rice as the base and top with lean protein such as: chicken, fish and/or seafood, lean beef, eggs, low fat cheese, or beans (for a high quality plant based protein).   Today I’m using jasmine rice (my daughter’s favorite variety) to start the foundation of a meal that takes 30 minutes to prep and cook (not including marinating the chicken).  My inspiration for this dish came when I purchased some dried mango on my weekly trip to  Trader Joe’s. Here are the ingredients I used to  make the coconut and mango jasmine rice my family is still raving about…

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 Dried mango gives the rice a little sweetness. Peanuts and coconut add a satisfying crunch.  Topping it off with chicken satay complements the tastes and results in a meal  that’s packed with protein, affordable, flavorful, and  worthy of a special occasion. Now that’s a real slam dunk!

IMG_1404Be sure to see the links at the bottom of my post for more ways to think U.S.-grown rice during National Nutrition Month and beyond.

IMG_1399Chicken Satay with Coconut & Mango Jasmine Rice (serves 4)

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup lite coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 5 tablespoons lime juice (2-3 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Supplies: bambo skewers

for the coconut & mango jasmine rice

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked U.S.-Grown Jasmine Rice
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried mango
  • 1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes*

Instructions

1. Soak bambo skewers in water while prepping ingredients.

2. Add ingredients peanut butter through garlic into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Reserve 3/4 of sauce for serving and use remainder to marinate chicken tenders for about 2 hours.

3. Preheat grill to medium high.

4. Thread  chicken onto skewers .

5. When grill is hot, (400 degrees F) place chicken on grill rack and grill 6-8 minutes per side or until chicken is beautifully charred.  Garnish chicken with green onion.

for the jasmine rice

1. In a medium saucepan, bring water, olive oil and salt to a boil. Stir in jasmine rice; return to boil, stirring once. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender.

2. Stir in dried mango, peanuts, and lime zest. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Serve chicken over a mound of rice with remaining peanut sauce on the side.

* TO TOAST COCONUT:  Spread coconut flakes onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring often.

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Power Couple: Protein and Exercise + Recovery Recipe

I love the ease of packing Greek yogurt, and the protein it packs important for boosting lean muscle mass gains, enhancing exercise recovery and helping with weight loss.  Here’s how I like it  enjoy it after resistance training .Yogurt_blog_post

I like to get it on board  30 minutes after a workout to take advantage of the relationship between protein and training; exercise sensitizes muscle to amino acid uptake. Studies have shown that protein type, amount and timing are the factors that influence muscle protein synthesis. This is the snack that delivers  21 grams of  protein, high in the amino acid leucine ( responsible for triggering  muscle protein synthesis).  ’Cause I like to keep the sugar content low,  I use the secret ingredient I introduced you to in my last post…

IMG_1272If the macerated fruit isn’t  sweet enough with the yogurt, add a little Monk Fruit in the Raw (zero calorie natural sweetener) to the yogurt and then layer with fruit. My recipe with exact measurements is below.

Layering Greek yogurt with pomegrante arils and macerated grapefruit makes a refreshing post recovery snack with the type and amount of protein necessary to maximize training gains. Hope you enjoy!IMG_1303

Grapefruit Pomegranate Greek Yogurt (serves 1)

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces plain non fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Monk Fruit in the Raw, Bakers Bag (optional)
  • pinch of Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 cup pomegrante arils
  • handfull of pistachios, shelled

for the macerated grapefruit

  • 1/2 grapefruit, sectioned
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Instructions

for the macerated fruit

Place grapefruit and honey in a Mason jar and allow to sit for 15 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to one day.

to assemble the yogurt Parfait

1. In a small bowl, stir Monk Fruit into Greek yogurt. Add pinch of salt.

2. In a parfait glass or portable yogurt cup, layer pomegranate arils with yogurt and macerated grapefruit. Finish with fruit.

3. Add pistachios just before eating.

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How to Naturally Sweeten Yougurt & Greek Yogurt

It’s a secret ingredient…and I’m sharing it with you today. I’ve developed this out of a need.. a need to help individuals find the right yogurt. Don’t get me wrong,  yogurt is great source of protein, calcium and probiotics (good for your stomach).  That’s why I love yogurt, devour it daily,  and  recommend it as a fast, casual meal or snack. However,  unless you eat it plain,   finding the right yogurt  is often a daunting task;  many store bought yogurts have as much as 24 grams or about 6 teaspoons of sugar.  So try my secret ingredent, to enjoy the yogurt goodness with less sugar…
Macerated Macerating fruit  increases the flavor, much like marinating meat. The honey draws out the liquid from the fruit, sweetens it and leaves a delicious syrup. Simply add 1/2 cup of fruit to a mason jar and then add 1 teaspon of honey. Let sit for as little as 15 minutes, or do ahead and refrigerate overnight. Add this to 6 oz of plain yogurt or Greek yogurt with 1 teaspoons of honey, to reduced the  added sugar by over half of what’s in most store bought yogurts. Stay tuned for my next post, I’ll  show you how I make a perfect  post recovery snack with Greek yogurt and my macerated grapefruit!IMG_1249

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Nutrition Experts Share the Love vi

Share_the_love_v_1_Today’s share the love post is a double dose! That’s because I’m plugging not one, but two impressive nutrition experts, Liz Weiss, MS,  RD and Janice Bissex, MS, RD.  These lovely ladies have teamed up to help busy families eat nutritious meals and snacks. They have an information packed blog Meal Makeover Moms Kitchen. Check it out for recipes  like this protein power breakfast parfait. They have penned two award winning cook books, No Whine with Dinner : 150 Healthy Kid Tested Recipes from the Makeover Moms ( M3 Press, 2011) and The Moms Guide to Meal Makeovers: Improving the Way your Family Eats one Meal at a Time (Broadway Books, 2004.) They go the extra mile promoting good nutrition with a radio podcast they host bi-weekly, Cooking With the Moms, (nominated By IACP as the best culinary Audio program of 2011).  I especially liked podcast #260 on prediabetes . With nearly 80 million Americans with prediabetes (and the number of individuals seeking nutrition counseling at Cape Fear Nutrition because of this condition), I believe this is the show someone out there is looking for.  Also, since I’ve  been discussing the benefits of distributing protein through out the day and the ten reasons you should care about muscle maintenace  let me  point out this informative podcast  tips for adding more protein to your diet.

I admire how the Makeover Meal Moms share the love and I want to share it with you.  Follow them on Twitter, Pinterest Instagram Facebook

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Savory Partners: Dark Chocolate + Granola with Za’atar

What’s your favorite healthy chocolate companion? According to the Chocolate Lover’s Club, it goes with just about anything and they reference some unusual combinations from seafood and cheese to roasted cauliflower.  Hmm.  Before I reveal my choice, I want to thank the Recipe Redux team for this timely February topic, because I’m using it to multitask (in a time management kinda way):

1. Believe it or not, it’s an inspiration for cleaning out my pantry. Yep, using up chocolate leftover from Valentine’s Day (as well as some other ‘nearly gone’ ingredients; what else can you do with 2 tablespoons of red quinoa anyway?)

2. And yes, I ‘m  trying to make amends for the Valentine’s Day Treat (no bake chocolate mousse) that didn’t score me any brownie points. Geeze.

Maybe ‘the man’ will like this…my favorite chocolate combination…

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dark chocolate + granola .  Here are the dry ingredients I used…

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So 2 tablespoons of this,  and a quater cup of that…. what a thrifty way to polish off small portions of pantry staples.  And at the last minute, I added what I now consider the secret ingredient ..za’atar.  Ever since I used this spice blend  in my Mediterranean Dip   I’ve been yearning to try it in granola. It’s an aromatic blend of sumac, sesame seeds, dried thyme, salt,  and other spices. The label states it goes best with lamb, chicken, fish and veggies. So, what about chocolate? It’s the bomb! Which means.. this month I’m one for one.  I’ll take it.  Ok, so now that I’ve got my family happily munching away on a delicious snack, how about nutrition? This is no more or no less healthier than most other granolas. Really. Close to 100 calories in 2 Tablespoons, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams protein, low in cholesterol , low in sodium and a very good source of manganese. So here’s the bottom line: if you like the taste of dark chocolate, and you want the heart healthy benefits of plant flavanols, please enjoy this one mindfully. Don’t forget to check out the links at the bottom of this post for more healthy chocolate pairings from my friends and colleague members of the Recipe Redux.

What’s your chocolate philosophy? Do you think it goes with everything?

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Dark Chocolate Granola with Za’atar

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons red quinoa
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (to make gluten free, gluten free label)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg white (omit for vegan)
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil (or coconut oil for paleo diet)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, broken into bite sized pieces

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Rinse quinoa and add to a medium bowl with the next four dry ingredients.

3. whisk egg white and oil and add to oat mixture along with honey and vanilla. Stir well to combine.

4. Spread oat mixture into a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with nonstick foil. 5.Bake, stirring every 10 minutes until golden. (20-25 minutes)

6. Allow to cool completely befoe adding raisins and dark chocolate. Serve or store in an air tight container.

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