Leftover Orange Chicken Salad

Leftover entree matter is prime next-day salad material, and I always keep this in mind when I make dinner. Changing up the way you use last night’s dinner keeps things interesting! I always keep a bag or two of mixed greens in the fridge, plus a few other salad staples like a bell pepper, a cucumber and a pint of cherry tomatoes (actually, I suggest keeping your tomatoes OUT of the fridge; they maintain their nutritious qualities much better that way!) I also LOVE raw broccoli in salads and wraps; the flavour is great and the crunchiness is so satisfying!
For this salad, I added my (cold) leftover orange chicken to a big bowl of greens and tossed in orange pepper slices, tomatoes, bean sprouts, green onions, jalepenos, and a handful of slivered almonds. I drizzled a generous portion of the orange-soy sauce mixture over my salad, which served perfectly as a light, delicious dressing! If you’d prefer to use something a little thicker, I’d suggest a soy-ginger vinaigrette or maybe a citrus vinagrette (though some dressings with similar flavours might clash with the flavour of the chicken rather than complementing it.)

Ingredients:
leftover Orange Chicken a la Emma with sauce
salad greens
your favourite veggies!

…I think you get the idea!

Orange Chicken a la Emma


To my delight, my darling friend Emma joined me for a midnight dinner party last night to break up the monotony of my exam week. We agreed to experiment with orange chicken, which neither of us had made before, and it turned out WONDERFULLY! I attribute this dish’s utter deliciousness to her wise and calming presence in the kitchen, so if you have an Emma (or someone like her) I would definitely recommend throwing her into the mix.

Now, we firmly believe in making recipes accessible to everyone, no matter how stocked your pantry may be. There have been plenty of times that I’ve found a good-lookin’ recipe that gets me all excited, only to realize I’m either gonna have to shell out $50 for random stuff I’ll never use again, or make a half-assed version that can’t possibly compete. To prevent this from happening here, we’ve marked the use-if-you-have, but don’t-worry-if-you-don’t ingredients with an *. Let us know how your version turns out, what was awesome and/or what may have been lacking…our final product was thrilling, and I hope yours is too!

P.S. This recipe allows for plenty of leftovers. I’ll let you know what I did with mine tomorrow!
P.P.S. Try this dish with tofu instead of chicken for a vegan delight!

Ingredients (serves 4, plus extra chicken):
2 pounds, 8 oz. frozen chicken tenderloins (boneless & skinless)
1 head broccoli, chopped into bite-sized trees
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 cup brown rice (uncooked)

sauce
2 cloves garlic
1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled (you can substitute 1 tsp ground ginger if you have it)
2 green onions, chopped (the white parts are for sauteeing and the green parts are a garnish)*
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar*
1/4 tsp white pepper*
1/2 tsp garlic chili paste or siracha hot sauce (this addition depends on your threshold for heat)*
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 TBSP canola oil
1 TBSP light brown sugar
1 11-oz can mandarin oranges in light syrup (don’t drain–you want the syrup too!)
juice of 1-1/2 oranges (or about 3/4 to 1 cup of store-bought orange juice, depending on how sweet you want your sauce)
zest of 1/2 orange*

garnishes: bean sprouts, crushed red pepper,green onion, orange slices (you can use the remaining 1/2 of an orange that you didn’t juice)

1. Thaw chicken. You can do this by placing it in the fridge for about 6 hours, or submerge the package in a sink full of water for 30-45 minutes. When the tenderloins are thaw, slice them into one-inch cubes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat water for rice and follow directions according to package. It will take about 40 minutes to cook the rice, giving you plenty of time to prepare the rest of the meal.
3. Gather your ingredients, wash & dry your produce, and chop up your garlic & veggies. Steam the broccoli and peppers in a steaming basket, or covered in a frying pan with about 1/2” water.
4. Sautee garlic, green onions & grated ginger (if you’re using powder, add it at the end) in a BIG POT with 2 TBSP canola oil til garlic is slightly browned and everything smells AMAZING. Turn off heat.
5. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients to the pot. Add the chicken and coat well.
6. Transfer the chicken to a baking pan at least one inch deep, and pour all the extra sauce over the pieces. Bake for about 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
7. Create a base of rice and veggies on each plate. Add chicken and drizzle with extra sauce. Garnish with crushed red pepper, green onion, orange slices, and bean sprouts if you have them. MMMMMMM!

Challenge Healthy Girl to Give Your Favourite Meal a Makeover!

Got a favourite food or meal that’s full of cream? Deep-fried? Super sweet? Really rich? Loaded with simple carbs (like sugar and white flour?) Wish you could eat it more often without feeling unhealthy? Bring your recipes or concepts to me, and I’ll do my best to create a healthier version that you can make in your own kitchen without spending too much time or money, and that you can feel great about feeding yourself and your family!

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be collecting submissions here, through our Facebook group, and via email (healthygirlcooking@gmail.com.) When I have enough submissions, HGC will feature a series of your favourite meals, healthified. I can’t do this without your help, though, so start thinkin’, tell your friends, and lay ’em on me, y’all!

Mami Nature’s Corn Chips


I love savory dipping devices, but I cringe when I read the labels of my favourite crunchy snacks. Health-minded brands may omit most of the yucky preservatives and trans fats, but even when you’re browsing the natural foods section, it’s difficult to find a low-fat treat that’s worth eating.

When I decided to substitute corn chips for pita bread for a new spin on my Pita Chip recipe, I was surprised by how difficult it is to find healthy corn tortillas. I was on my third grocery store before I found tortillas that contained–hallelujah!–nothing but corn, water and lime (thank you, Trader Joe’s.) This recipe takes less than 5 minutes to prepare (plus about 20 minutes to bake) and you can make a big batch to eat all week. Try them with Dilly Cottage Cheese Dip or your favourite salsa. I can’t wait for avocados to be in season again so that I can try them with homemade guacamole!

Ingredients (serves 4):
8 natural corn tortillas (with about a 5-1/2″ diameter)
1 TBSP olive oil
a sprinklin’ of garlic powder, salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice tortillas into quarters and lay them on a baking sheet. Brush each side with just a smidge of olive oil–you can really make 1 Tablespoon go a long way! Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (you can try different spice variations if you wish.)
3. Bake chips for about 20 minutes, taste-testing them for crunchiness (don’t burn your tongue!) You may want to check on them after 10 minutes or so, flipping them over if they’re getting too dark on top.

Bowl-o-Burrito


We bid a stylish adieu to Quinoa Week with this super healthy twist on your favourite and mine, the burrito. The beans and quinoa provide a great deal of both protein and fiber, and when you add all your fave veggies (you can easily get 5 servings into this power meal) you’ll be full and happy for days. For those of you who eat dairy, topping your bowl with a little shredded cheese adds calcium and even more protein, but a little salsa and hot sauce is all you need for great flavour!

Ingredients (serves 2):
1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1 yellow squash
1 zucchini
1 small head broccoli
1-1/3 cups frozen or canned corn kernels
1 cup beans (I like refried, though they’re generally the most sodium-y)
1 6-ounce bag fresh spinach leaves

for extra yumminess: avocado slices, grated cheddar, crushed red pepper, hot sauce, and your favourite salsa (i LOVE peach!)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice up your broccoli, zucchini and squash. Roast veggies for about 20 minutes, pulling them out after 10 minutes to add your corn to the baking sheet and stir the other veggies with a spatula to allow them to roast evenly. (If you like, you can brush them with a bit of olive oil; I omitted the oil this time cause I’ve had a very decadent weekend.)
2. Wash & dry spinach and sautee it in a non-stick pan. When it’s nice and wilty, add the beans and quinoa and stir until everything is nice and warm.
3. Add roasted veggies and all your favourite toppings!

Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup with Spinach


This experiment produced a delish result that can be served all sorts of ways–even as a saucy base for a pasta dish. Though I seasoned it mostly with Italian herbs, the black beans made a yummy addition and spiked the protein content.

Of course, I added a big scoop of quinoa as well (this being Quinoa Week and all.) You don’t have to make your soup from scratch to use this trick; adding the versatile grain (which, I remind you, is a complete protein!) to any healthy soup turns your side into a meal–try it with a butternut squash or chicken & vegetable base, too.

So far this soup has kept nicely for 3 days, and I’m expecting it to last through the weekend. If you’re feeling crafty, play with the spices and let me know what you come up with!

Note: I used my food processor to whirl everything up, but you should be able to get away with using a blender if you don’t have one.

Ingredients (makes 2 big bowls or about 4 cups) :
4 ripe vine tomatoes (romas work well)
2 red bell peppers
2-1/2 cups chopped frozen spinach
6 big, fresh basil leaves
1 TBSP olive oil
1-1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried or fresh minced thyme
1/4 tsp paprika
salt & pepper
1/3 cup cooked quinoa for each serving

other additions: crumbled feta or a few shavings of mozzarella or parmesan; zucchini & squash slices roasted or sauteed in a teaspoon of olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry the peppers and tomatoes. Cut the tops off of the peppers–trying not to waste too much of your veggies–and scoop out the seeds (not to worry if you don’t get them all; I didn’t even bother to de-seed mine, and having a few seeds in my soup didn’t bother me a’tall.)
2. Place peppers & tomatoes on a baking sheet. If you have one that is at least half an inch deep, use it; you’ll want to preserve the juices that start to drain while the veggies are roasting. Let them hang out in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until they’re nice and soft. Meanwhile, thaw your spinach.
3. When the roasted veggies are ready, let them cool to a temperature comfortable for handling. If you’re using a blender, you’ll want to slice them into smaller pieces; if your food processor has super-sharp blades, you should be able to get away with big pieces.
4. Throw everything into your whirling device and liquify, adding the juices from the baking sheet. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Get creative with your toppings!

Brie-zy Bellas with Spicy Spinach & Quinoa


I’m afraid I can only take credit for adding the spinach and quinoa to this yummy, wholesome meal. The brilliant brie-melting idea came from Becca (of Becca’s Cranberry-Almond Kale) via her brother (my dude,) who grilled briezy ‘bellas and served them with lobster on our last anniversary (needless to say, he knows how to romance a girl.) This is less exciting meal, I must admit, but it’s super easy to make and spans the food pyramid rather nicely. The combination of cheese and quinoa makes it plentifully proteiny; the veggies add to the substantial fiber content of the quinoa, and the spinach packs a powerful punch vitamins A & C.

Ingredients (serves 2):
2 nice big portabella caps
3 ounces of brie (about 3 square inch-cubes)
10 ounces (one bag) of spinach leaves, washed & dried
1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa
4 tsp olive oil
salt, pepper, and plenty of crushed red pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush each of the bellas with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, coating each side with a very thin layer.
2. When the oven is hot, place the mushrooms on a baking sheet with the stems facing down. Bake for about 5 minutes, then pull them out, flip them over and top with brie.
3. Pop the mushrooms back into the oven for about 10 minutes, then turn on the broiler and brown the cheese for 2-3 more minutes.
4. Wash and dry spinach. Sautee until it’s mostly wilted, then add the quinoa and stir until everything is nicely mixed and heated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and plenty of crushed red pepper (if you like heat, this is an essential addition.)

A Note About My Labels

Hey Y’all,

I just want to make it clear that I take tagging my recipes (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, etc.) very seriously. If I’ve catalogued a recipe in a way that you feel is incorrect, please let me know. I’ve had my share of experiences with misleading titles (finding out that the “Vegetarian” dishes I’d been eating at certain restaurants were made with chicken broth and whatnot) and it’s important to me that this website is a trustworthy tool from the get-go.

I try to feature recipes that can easily be altered to fit your needs. This is not always evident in my photographs; for example, I sprinkled my Veggie Stacks with Quinoa Cakes with mozzarella but tagged the recipe as Vegan and Dairy-Free because I made a notation in the recipe that either cheese or soy cheese can be used as a topping. If the substitutions are any more complicated than that, I don’t place them in a category that would involve changing multiple ingredients to avoid confusing you. If you find a recipe to be misleading (or just plain wrong!) please let me know by commenting on the recipe or by e-mailing me at healthygirlcooking@gmail.com.

Also, if you have a dietary restriction you’d like to see represented on this website, please let me know! I’m always up for trying new things, and I love to experiment in the kitchen!

Roasted Veggie & Quinoa Salad


You can pretty much take whatever you have in the fridge and on the shelf and come up with a combo of veggies that works for this salad. The beauty of using quinoa to hold it all together is that you get a healthy dose of both fiber and protein, which work together to fill you up and keep you satiated. This time, I used eggplant, zucchini and squash because that’s what I was using for my Veggie Stacks with Quinoa Cakes. I roasted all the veggies at the same time to keep things simple, and I had leftover salad for 2 days! On the second day, I added a grilled chicken breast slathered in chili sauce for an absolutely delish early dinner that kept me full all night (which is pretty phenomenal, ’cause The Midnight Snack has long been my favourite meal.)

My other favourite way to serve this salad is with roasted broccoli, roasted cherry tomatoes, black beans and corn (the last three appear in my recipe for Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers; you can easily make both meals in one batch for easy reheating later.)

Ingredients:
A bunch of your favourite veggies, chopped into bite-sized pieces
a plate full of dark leafy greens or spinach
1/2 to 2/3 cup cooked quinoa, depending on how hungry you are
2 tsp olive oil
salt & pepper
2 TBSP of your favourite dressing

additions: chicken, tofu or tempeh for extra protein; avocado, if it complements your veggie selections

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees while you chop up your veggies. Spread them out on a baking sheet and dot them with 1-2 tsp of olive oil to prevent them from drying out in the oven, and sprinkle ’em with a little s&p.
2. Pop the veggies in the oven and roast ’em for about 20 minutes, stirring with a spatula after 10.
3. Wash and dry greens and top them with quinoa. When veggies are ready, add them to your salad and drizzle with your favourite dressing (I like something thick and zesty like Goddess or Ranch.)

Healthy Girl Says: I’m always tempted to reach for low-, reduced-, or the ever so seductive FAT-FREE dressing on the shelf of the condiment aisle. I know this may be hard to believe, but those are not the healthiest choices. Read the labels; they’re packed with glycerblahblahblah and dextrohulabaloo. The healthiest way to dress your salad is with a dressing made from actual food, not chemicals. I know the 11 grams of fat might look scary, but isn’t that just because widening hips are easier to visualize than synthetic chemicals attacking your cells? Also, the healthy oils (like olive oil) found in better-for-you dressings actually coat your stomach, making you feel more satiated, so it’s easier to prevent overeating. So start reading the labels on your salad dressing, girls and boys. Be nice to your bod.

Veggie Stacks with Quinoa Cakes


This recipe is my attempt to make eggplant parmesan (which I think we can all agree is super yummy, but not particularly good for you) into a healthier and more diverse dish. By removing the bread crumbs typical of eggplant parm, reducing the amount of cheese involved, and adding spinach, zucchini, peppers and onions (and quinoa, obvi) to the mix, this dish has been transformed into a lower-fat, proteinfiber– and vitamin-packed meal!

I have to level with you: this is not a super-quick meal to prepare. However, it’s easy to prepare with my Roasted Veggie & Quinoa Salad (recipe coming tomorrow,) so in 45 minutes, I’d made dinner with enough leftovers for tomorrow night (or my boyfriend’s lunch tomorrow…we’ll see who’s the sneakiest) AND I have tomorrow’s lunch waiting for me in the fridge. Not bad, not bad a’tall.

Ingredients (makes 3 servings):
1 eggplant, sliced into 1-inch thick rounds
1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
2-1/2 cups frozen spinach, thawed
1 cup tomato sauce
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella, or a few slices of soy cheese if you want to make the caesin-free version
1/2 TBSP olive oil
salt & pepper

Quinoa cakes:
1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup diced red pepper (about 1/2 pepper)
1/4 cup diced onion
1 egg
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
salt, pepper, basil & oregano to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thaw spinach. Make quinoa cakes: mix quinoa, red pepper, onion, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and spices. Taste to make sure you’ve spiced the mixture to your liking, then add the egg and mix well.
2. Lightly oil a baking sheet with about 1 teaspoon olive oil. Shape the quinoa mixture into 6 little balls, each with a diameter of 2 inches or so (about the length of your thumb.) Don’t worry if they won’t stay together very well, mine didn’t either; they’ll take their shape as they bake. Brush the tops of the cakes with the remaining teaspoon of oil.
2. Slice eggplant and zucchini and add pieces to the baking sheet (you may need to employ the use of a second sheet.) Using a brush, lightly coat one side of each piece with 1/2 TBSP olive oil.
3. Put everything into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, pulling them out after 10 to flip everything over (be very gentle with the quinoa cakes–if they immediately start to fall apart, let them bake for a few minutes longer. Using a spatula is very helpful.)
4. When the contents of the roasting trays are ready, pull them out and turn on the broiler. On the baking sheet, assemble: each stack begins with a slice of eggplant and is topped with a spread of spinach, 3-4 zucchini rounds, a quinoa cake, and finally 2 TBSP of mozzarella/half a slice of soy cheese.
5. Place the baking sheet under the broiler for about 2 minutes. While the cheese is browning, heat the tomato sauce in the microwave and spread 1/3 cup onto each plate. Top each plate with two veggie stacks. Viola!

p.s. seth attack is back, bringing us beautiful pics.