Dinner is served

Despite still failing to get back to meal planning, I threw together three tasty dinners this week!

The first dinner I made was burgers!  I pretty much made up the recipe:

1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground beef
2 cups (ish) fresh spinach
1/2 cup (ish) sun dried tomatoes, soaked in garlic olive oil
1/2 cup (ish) coconut-oat pulp (leftover from homemade milk)
1/4 cup (ish) shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp (ish) fresh cilantro
Smoked paprika, ground mustard, salt and pepper

I put the spinach and cilantro in a food processor and got that chopped up, then added it to the meat.  Then I added the sun dried tomatoes to the food processor with a little of the garlic olive oil and processed that as well.  Then I mixed all of the other ingredients together!  I ended up with 15 patties, but they were rather small so 12 would probably be a more realistic number.  You’ll note the many “ish”s above, and that’s because I don’t really measure that sort of stuff very well haha 🙂

burgers for the freezer!

burgers for the freezer!

whoops, a little small :)

whoops, a little small 🙂

Another night, I wanted to get rid of some leftovers, so I boiled up a bunch of sweet potatoes that were about to go bad and threw some of those together with some smoked chicken from a few nights before, added leftover green beans and smoked gouda (love this stuff!) and added a little bit of balsamic vinegar.  Sounds weird, but actually turned out to be quite tasty!

pot of leftovers!

pot of leftovers!

We were going to have friends over one night, so I wanted to find something fun to grill.  I came across this veggie & chicken kebabs recipe that sounded yummy!  I made quite a few adjustments, big surprise, so below is my version.  Hubby gave it two thumbs up and said it’s a keeper!!

Chicken:
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size cubes
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled + roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup garlic olive oil
1 can artichoke quarters (if doing it again, I would use two cans)
1 bunch asparagus, cut into fourths
1 zucchini cut into wedges
1/2 red pepper cut in to chunks (for the hubby)

Lemon Vinegarette:
2 small to medium lemons, grated + juiced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 a lime, juiced

Yogurt-Cheese sauce:
2/3 cup homemade coconut milk yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 ounces feta cheese

Instructions
1. Place the chicken in a gallon size ziploc bag.
2. To the bowl of a food processor add the ginger, cilantro, parsley, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Process 1-2 minutes or until everything is finely chopped. Stream in 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup garlic olive oil. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss well. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
3. Meanwhile make the vinaigrette. Add the lemon zest and juice to a small sauce pot. Bring mixture to a simmer and simmer, about 1 minute or until the zest absorbs the juice. WATCH CLOSELY, you do not want the zest to get burnt to the pan. Spoon the zest out of the pot and into a small bowl. Add the olive oil, parsley, salt, honey and lime juice. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
4. To make the yogurt-cheese sauce, mix together the coconut yogurt, chopped mint, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir in the crumbled feta cheese. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
5. Preheat the grill or a grill pan to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grates. Thread the chicken and veggies onto wood skewers that have been soaked in water. Place the chicken on the grill until the chicken is golden and no longer pink in the center, about 5 minutes each side. You may also cook the chicken in a skillet if needed. Serve the chicken with the the lemon herb vinaigrette and
the yogurt-cheese sauce.

chicken kebabs!

chicken kebabs!

chicken kebabs with sauce

chicken kebabs with sauce

For a side, I made this coconut roasted carrot salad— it was really good!  I omitted the garlic, used dried cranberries instead of cherries and did not add the feta or mint since we already had that to go with the kebabs. They did seem a little greasier than needed so next time I would probably use a little less oil.

coconut carrot salad

coconut carrot salad

DIY Coconut Milk & Flour

I decided to tackle making my own coconut milk after seeing this post on pinterest:
DIY Coconut Milk

I’ve been buying coconut milk from Trader Joe’s for a long time now because it is a pretty reasonable price and I have always liked that it is shelf stable, so I can stock up on a whole bunch and not worry about crowding my fridge.  Well, even at good ol TJ’s, there are some not so great additives in the coconut milk :-/ The only way to buy a more “pure” coconut milk is to buy the canned kind, which can get pretty pricey if you’re drinking it a lot!

So I thought I’d take a stab at making it myself.  I bought organic shredded coconut from the bulk aisle at Hy-Vee, I got 0.7 lb for about $4, which ended up being about 3.5 cups.

I soaked 3 cups of the coconut with 6 cups of water for two hours.

Coconut soaking

Coconut soaking

Then it was time to blend it!  I had to do two batches in the blender.  I bought a “nut milk bag” and strained the coconut milk using this, making sure to squeeze out as much moisture as possible because the leftover bits can then be used to make coconut flour!!  I ended up with 1.5 pitchers, each pitcher being 41 ounces, so my estimate would be probably close to 50 ounces of milk.

coconut milk!!

coconut milk!!

Then I spread out the coconut leftovers on two sheets and baked them at 170 degrees for over an hour (the blog said 45 mins but I didn’t think it felt dry enough).

soon-to-be coconut flour

soon-to-be coconut flour

Once this seemed dry enough, I put it through the food processor and tada, coconut flour!!

coconut flour

coconut flour

All in all, it was a fair bit of a work (especially when I made a few messes *ahem*), but I am pretty pleased with what all I got for $4!  Especially knowing that there is nothing funny added to any of these products- just organic coconut and water!