Pineapple Basil Chicken Over Cauliflower Rice in Lettuce Boats

It has been hot hot hot where we live in the recent weeks and I have been craving the fresh, juicy and a little bit spicy tastes of summer. 

Last night I made pineapple basil chicken lettuce boats and they were…amazing. Light and refreshing but also totally filling. I will be making this a LOT this summer.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in 3/4″ cubes
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 pineapple
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • half of a large vidalia onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • large handful of basil
  • 6 large romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 lemon

For the terayaki-ish marinade:

  • soy sauce
  • fish sauce
  • ginger
  • lemon
  • brown sugar
  • mirin
  • rice wine vinegar
  • sesame oil

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The chicken cooks quickly so I prepared everything in advance while the chicken sat in the marinade for about an hour…but could be as little as twenty minutes. 

Cube the chicken and then prepare the marinade. I tend to eye and taste this to make it to my liking before adding the chicken so the measurements aren’t exact. About 1/3 cup of low sodium soy sauce, a few squirts of fish sauce, a tablespoon of sesame oil, a tablespoon of mirin, a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, the zest and juice of one lemon, a one inch knob of ginger grated, and a bit of salt and pepper. Mix it all up and add the chicken.

While that marinates, rice the cauliflower (buzz it in the food processor for a bit), slice the pineapple, cut the onion, slice the red pepper and finely dice the skin of one jalapeno pepper (and unless you are brave, avoid the seeds). I also wash the lettuce at this point, too.

When you are ready to cook, divide the cut onion into two batches (for cooking chicken and for cooking “rice”). You will need two pans for this part. I suggest a high sided pan for the rice and a saute pan for the chicken. Add oil to both pans and, once hot, add the onion. Let it cook until translucent. In one pan, add the rice with salt and pepper. In the other, add the chicken, reserving the marinade for later. Cook one side of the chicken until browned and then flip the chicken. It will cook quickly so don’t go too far. Pour in half of the marinade and discard the rest. When the chicken is almost cooked through, add the rest of the ingredients to the chicken and cook until the pineapple begins to brown. The rice will take about the same amount of time to warm through.

To plate, fill the lettuce boats with cauliflower rice and then top with the chicken mixture. Serve and enjoy!

 

Chicken tikka masala with cauli-rice, kale and red onion

Ever since I “discovered” cauliflower rice, I’ve been on a “I used to eat this with real rice and couldn’t imagine it without it” kick. Foods that needed to sop up the sauce, in particular. Or foods that need the bulk of rice to finish out the meal. Or, in the case with last night’s dinner, foods that have a little kick and can use some “rice” to temper the heat.

A few months ago I stumbled upon a tikka masala simmer sauce that didn’t use coconut and I just about ran out of the store with it to get it into my belly. And it is delicious. I couldn’t recommend Maya Kaimal’s Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce more. 

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People: Buy this. It has a good balance of spice and savory-ness. And it really couldn’t be easier.

Behold! Chicken tikka masal over cauli-rice with kale and red onion!

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Ingredients:

  • Maya Kaimal’s Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce
  • Three small chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • Half of a red onion
  • One head of cauliflower
  • Handful of kale
  • Tumeric
  • Salt/pepper

 

Put one teaspoon of salt into a bowl of hot water and mix until the salt dissolves. Cut the chicken into one inch cubes and add it to the water to brine. Let it sit while you prepare the cauliflower. 

Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and chop the entirety of the cauliflower into smallish pieces. Cut the stem into one centimeter pieces. In a cuisinart and in small batches, pulse the cauliflower until it it resembles the consistency of rice. Don’t keep on pulsing if there are a few larger pieces. Take those out and add them to the next small batch. You don’t want to make the pieces too small or it becomes more like mashed potatoes (also delicious, but not what you are going for). 

You will use two saute pans for this meal. Have them set up side by side on your stove as once you start cooking, it will go quickly. 

Cut the onion into thin, two inch pieces. Saute them in a bit of olive oil until they are starting to soften and char (we like our onions on the crispier side so will leave them longer than you probably will). 

Chop the kale leaves (after removing the spines) into TINY pieces…almost a mince. You want the kale to intermingle with the rice, not overtake it. Once the onions are ready, add the kale and a bit more olive oil.

Meanwhile, heat up a bit of olive oil in the other pan and drain the chicken and pat with paper towels to dry. Add salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and brown on one side.

While the chicken browns, add the “riced” cauliflower to the pan with the onions and kale. Heat should be on medium. Mix the cauli-rice, kale and onions together and sprinkle tumeric across the top. Then add salt and pepper to taste. I usually put in a bit more salt that usual on this dish. Mix it all up and let it sit while you tend to the chicken. It should look like this:

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Flip the chicken to the other side and brown for a short time. Pop the top on the simmer sauce, put it back on and shake. When the second side of the chicken is starting to turn opaque, pour the entirety of the simmer sauce over the chicken. Turn the heat to medium low (depending on your stove) to a low simmer and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

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Keep on turning the cauli-rice to make sure all of it is heated through and keep it over low heat while the chicken simmers. Pour yourself a drink. Set the table.

Add hefty amount of the cauli-rice to a bowl and cover with the chicken tikka masala. Pour on extra sauce if that is to your liking. I like to mix it all up so that the cauli-rice covers the chicken.

I always have to make more of this than I think because EVERYONE wants second helpings. It is delicious.

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Salmon Wasabi “Rice” Bowl

There is this meal, this dish, that Hubs and I have craved since we started this journey but haven’t yet indulged. This dish is so delicious that my mouth taste it just thinking about it. It is sweet and crunchy and savory and spicy and ultimately filling. It is the Pacific Catch Salmon Wasabi Rice Bowl. And until I discovered cauliflower rice a few weeks ago (and have since been obsessed) did I even consider it an option. 

Ingredients

The Salmon & Marinade

  • Salmon (skin off…though it would be good with skin too)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Brown Sugar
  • Fish Sauce
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Sesame Seeds

The Rest of It

  • One Head of Cauliflower (though I maybe would do more if more than 2 people)
  • Sesame Oil (two parts)
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Pea shoots (I got mine at Trader Joes)
  • Seaweed Salad (I actually couldn’t find it after two stores so used a kale and seaweed salad that I found at our health food store)
  • Avocado
  • Persian Cucumbers
  • sliced ginger

The Dressing

  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi

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It all comes together pretty quickly once you have finished with the cauliflower rice which you could do ahead of time to save “dinner” prep time. 

Marinate the salmon in soy sauce (a few splashes), about a tablespoon of brown sugar, a few splashes of fish sauce and salt/pepper to taste. Let it sit while you prepare you cauliflower rice (or for about 15 minutes). 

Preheat the oven to 350.

To make cauliflower rice, cut the leaves off of the head of cauliflower and cut the entirety of the cauliflower into two inch pieces. In a cuisinart, pulse (in a few batches so that the already chopped pieces don’t get too small) the cauliflower until it is the size of “rice”. I actually don’t go that small. I leave a few 1/2 inch chunks. In a saucepan, heat on medium a teaspoon of sesame oil and a tablespoon of grapeseed oil. Once glistening, put in the grated cauliflower, add a bit of salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring frequently, until it is warmed through. Put it aside in a bowl.

Put a bit more sesame oil and grapeseed oil in the pan and, again, heat until glistening. On the top of the salmon, shake on a layer of sesame seeds. Put that side down on the hot pan and cook for two minutes. While that side is cooking, sprinkle the other side with sesame seeds. Flip the fish after two minutes and cook two minutes more on the other side. Have ready a 1/4 pan lined with tin foil. After the second side is cooked, transfer the fish to the pan, drizzle on the remaining marinade and put in the oven for 5ish minutes (depends on your oven). The fish is done when it is slightly firm to the touch.

Meanwhile, plate the rest of the ingredients: Put the “rice” in a deep bowl. On top of that put a small bunch of the pea sprouts in one area, a scoop of the kale/seaweed salad in another area, the cucumbers sliced into thin strips in another area and the avocado in slices in the last area. Then whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Adjust as needed for taste (a bit of bite is good as it soaks into the cauliflower rice and other ingredients). 

When the salmon is finished, place it on top of the other ingredients and then dress the bowl with the wasabi dressing and a few slices of ginger. And that is it! We devoured it. The salmon was tangy, the greens balanced well with the sweet and salty of the fish and the “rice” really worked! I honestly wouldn’t have known the difference.