Orange Chicken Stir Fry with Crispy Garlic Dressing

I’ve decided to give clean eating a try… I’ve heard a lot of people talking about it lately and one of my friends has posted pictures of some of the most beautiful food I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m not going all clean (after all, I had In-N-Out for lunch today and there’s no way in hell I could give up pasta), but am going to try to incorporate it into three or four dinners a week. I like the general idea – consuming food in as close to its natural state as possible. Here’s the general guidelines to clean eating – I like it because it’s not a diet plan, you can still treat yourself (seriously, I’m not giving up pasta), and it makes you think about what you’re putting into your body:

Eat the foods made by nature, not man.
Plan to eat five or six meals and snacks throughout the day.
Avoid processed foods (in other words, anything in a box with a label).
Use healthy cooking methods.
Eat before you become super hungry.
Stop eating when you’re satisfied, not stuffed.
Don’t count your calories, fat grams, or points.
Enjoy and appreciate its flavor.

That said, I made a trip to my local Whole Foods and got lots of yummy stuff to cook “clean” dinners over the next few nights. The first up was Orange Chicken Stir Fry, from Clean Eating Magazine’s online recipe bank. The one thing that I did not include was the chickpeas – I bought them dry, not realizing that they needed to be rehydrated and that process takes like twelve hours. So we’re having chickpeas in our salad tomorrow night. This whole healthy cooking thing is harder than it looks!

Mike and I both really liked this meal – brown rice and all. I normally don’t like it because it tastes chewy, but I barely undercooked it and it was delicious! This is definitely going into my recipe book! Enjoy!

Orange Chicken Stir Fry with Crispy Garlic Dressing
Orange Chicken Stir Fry with Crispy Garlic Dressing


2/3 cup brown rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

7 1/2 oz BPA-free canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried

1/4 tsp sea salt

Pinch ground cayenne pepper

1 bunch broccoli, trimmed

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 tbsp rice wine or apple cider vinegar

16 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise

1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp ground ginger

1 orange, peeled, segmented and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 green onions, sliced


Cook rice according to package directions.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp oil on medium. Add chickpeas and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne. Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a steamer basket set over a pot of gently simmering water, cook broccoli until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare dressing: In a small saucepan, heat 1 tsp oil on medium. Add garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, crisp and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and add vinegar. Set aside.

In a clean skillet, heat remaining 1 tsp oil on medium. Add chicken and sauté for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add zucchini, soy sauce and ginger. Sauté until chicken is cooked through and zucchini is tender, 5 to 7 more minutes. Stir in broccoli, orange, onions and dressing and heat through. Serve over rice and top with chickpeas.

Cowboy Flank Steak with Sweet & Smoky Beans with Garlic-Roasted Broccoli

This is another Cooking Light recipe that I decided to give a try – Mike actually did the cooking on this one and it was delicious! He said this is possibly his favorite way to cook broccoli!

Cowboy Flank Steak
Cowboy Flank Steak


1 tablespoon  olive oil

1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper

3/4 cup lower-sodium tomato puree

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon molasses

1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound flank steak, trimmed


Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add onion and red bell pepper; sauté 4 minutes or until slightly tender. Stir in tomato puree and next 6 ingredients (through green chiles). Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Heat a grill pan over high heat. Combine paprika and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl; rub spice mixture evenly over steak. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak to pan; grill 6 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Serve with beans.

For Garlic-Roasted Broccoli

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 6 cups broccoli florets and 3 minced garlic cloves in a large bowl. Coat generously with cooking spray; toss to coat. Arrange mixture in a single layer on a jelly roll pan. Roast at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, stirring once.

Winter Minestrone Soup with Garlic Bruschetta

Today I decided to try another Pinterest recipe. I wanted something hearty and wintery. This soup was just the ticket – Mike and I both went back for seconds! The garlic bruschetta was super easy and a really nice addition.


Winter Minestrone with Garlic Bruschetta


olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups (1/2-inch) diced carrots (3 carrots)
2 cups (1/2-inch) diced celery (3 stalks)
2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) diced peeled butternut squash
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
26 ounces canned tomatoes
6 to 8 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked small pasta, such as tubetti
8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup good dry white wine
2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
1 baguette


Cook the pasta according to directions, set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.

Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 table-spoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted. Stir in the wine and pesto. Serve with bruschetta.

To make bruschetta, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Slice the baguette at a 45-degree angle in 1/2 inch-thick slices. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and bake for 6 minutes, until lightly toasted. Take the slices out of the oven and rub the surface of each one with the cut clove of garlic.