Easy roast chicken

With chicken being allowed on the Diet for a Pain Free Life, it can be a struggle to find new ways to incorporate it into your meals in a flavorful and exciting way. For that I simply add a lot of great spices and roast a bone in full chicken breast from the meat counter at my grocery store. it is already broken down from the bird with the center breast bone still intact and the two chicken breasts ready for preparation. Usually this comes as a skin on deal, but ask the meat person to remove it or simply take it off at home.

You will need:

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ras el hanout spice (or a mixture of cayenne, paprika, black pepper, cinnamon)
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice, just a squeeze will do
  • fine sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper

In a large bowl big enough to hold the chicken breast, mix the ingredients well. Add the chicken breasts and coat well then cover and refrigerate to allow the marinade to penetrate. A minimum of 20 minutes and ideally a few hours to overnight. When ready pre-heat your oven to 425 F. If you have a roasting pan where you can place the chicken breast side up to roast this is ideal. Just set it on the pan and stick it in the oven until the internal temperature at the fattest part reads 170F. Remove from the oven and let stand for about 15 more minutes to allow the carry over heat to continue distributing the juices and for the meat to cool slightly.


With this chicken the collard green salad would be perfect.

Simply delicious collard green salad

I want to share a recipe from one of my favorite cooks and authors Robin Asbell.

Her Collard Green Waldorf salad is perfect for winter. Check out her site for more information about this recipe, and great pictures on how to prepare the collard greens.  Here is the link to her website and the recipe as follows:


Collard Green Waldorf Salad

A great thing about using resilient leaves like these in a salad is that you can dress it and serve it for days. Like coleslaw, it just gets more tender as it sits.

Makes about 4 cups

1 bunch collard greens, stems removed and saved for juice or other use

2 tablespoons Meyer or other lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil

1/4 cup vegan or other mayo

1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup

2 ribs celery, split lengthwise and then chopped

1 large Honeycrisp or other apple, chopped

1/2 large carrot, grated

1/2 cup toasted broken walnuts


On your cutting board, roll up the stemmed leaves and slice thinly. Place in a large bowl and add the lemon, olive oil and salt, and massage until the greens are deep green and shrink to about 2/3 their original volume. In a cup, stir the mayo and agave or maple, and add to the greens. Add the celery, apple, carrots and toss to coat. Stir in most of the walnuts, saving some to sprinkle on top at serving.

Valentine’s Day Baked Fish in a Foil Pouch

Spices help with flavor in a dish, but they also help with our circulation. Getting that blood flowing, that heart pumping and set for some romance.Baking fish and shellfish in a foil package is one of the easiest ways to prepare a meal, and frees you up to focus on other things while a meal is working away. It melds flavors together, sealing in juiciness; and using heart healthy olive oil, spices, olives, herbs, veggies and sea salt will help keep you and your loved ones healthy.


Mediterranean Fish Baked in a Pouch:

  • 4 fish filets of your choosing (each about 8 oz)
  • Sea salt (I like fine textured the best)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine of your choosing


  • 1/2 cup of pitted black olives, choose your favorite
  • 1 glove of garlic, peeled and smashed with the broad side of a knife, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 small dried red chili pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade or chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes (or 1/4 cup soaked, drained and chopped sundried tomatoes)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 475 faranheit and make the marinade. Put the olives, garlic, chili pepper, herbs, lemon juice and oil into a large bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes and toss.  Season with salt and pepper. Let sit for up to 30 minutes to allow the juices to escape from the tomatoes.

Take a piece of aluminum foil about 15-inches in length and place 1/4 of the tomatoes and some marinade on one side and a filet on top of it. Fold it over and seal that side, then seal one end leaving the other open. Pour into the open end 1 Tablespoon good olive oil and some of the white wine (1/4 of the amount) and seal up the remaining side. Do the same for the other 3 filets.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes and remove from the over. Then let it stand about 4-5 minutes to allow the fish to continue to steam in the bag.

To serve Place each bag on a plate and either have the guest cut open the top of the foil and peel it back, or you can do this prior to serving.



Soba Noodle Salad

Soba are buckweat noodles found in Asian cuisine. They are great served hot or cold and hold up well to bold flavors and spices!

  • 10 ounce package of Soba noodles
  • 1/4 teaspoon arrow root powder (can substitute corn starch)
  • 4 ounces vegetable stock
  • juice of 1 lime
  • zest of 1 lime (zest the lime before you juice it!)
  • 3 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons organic tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated, fresh ginger root
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or smashed well
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grape seed oil
  • small handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 pint fresh shiitake mushrooms, julienne
  • 1 small package snow peas, blanched

Cook the noodles in boiling water until tender to the bite. Follow package instructions. Drain and allow to cool to room temperature. Warm the vegetable stock and combine just enough to the arrorroot powder, or cornstarch to make a ‘slurry’. Boil the remainder of the stock and add the slurry, stirring. Heat until thickened, it will coat the back of a spoon lightly when it is done. Remove from the heat.

Add the lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, lime zest, and garlic. Whisk in the thickened stock and the toasted sesame oil. Stir in the cilantro.

Heat the grape seed oil in a pan. Add the mushrooms and brown gently and cook out the moisture. Add the snow peas. If using frozen, defrost and blot dry before adding to the pan to avoid splattering hot oil when the water hits the pan! Saute until heated and the snow peas are tender but with a bite.

Toss all the ingredients with the cooked noodles and enjoy!

Serves 4

Red Lentil Salad

  • 2 cups cooked red lentils, drained
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup diced tomato
  • 2 naval oranges, supremed (segmented) and diced
  • 1 small jalapeno, minced (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or smashed well
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon basil chiffonade, or minced
  • sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Cook the lentils per the package instructions, and drain well. Allow to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients well, tossing gently with a wooden spoon. Add the herbs last and season to taste with sea salt and fresh black pepper.

Serves 4

Paella Valencia

This will serve 10 as Paella is a dish best enjoyed by many. You may reduce the amounts however you like to suit your needs and portions.

You will need:

  • 10 chicken legs, skinless
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion, or one medium to large onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 1/2 cups assorted bell peppers, diced
  • 2 jalapenos seeded, and minced
  • 1 1/2 cups white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 1/4 cups long-grain rice
  • 2 1/2 pints chicken stock
  • 20 clams, scrubbed
  • 20 mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  • 10 shrimp (16/20 count), peeled, deveined
  • 10 ounces, fresh or frozen peas
  1. Begin by roasting the chicken legs in a 350 degree oven until halfway cooked, about 15 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onion and garlic. Saute until the onions are browned.
  3. Add the bell peppers and jalapenos. Cook until tender.
  4. Add the,mushrooms and cook until they begin to release their juices.
  5. Add the saffron and rice. Saute briefly and add the stock bringing to a simmer. Cover and place in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken legs, clams, mussels, shrimp and peas. Cover and continue cooking the paella until the clams and mussels are opened and the chicken legs and rice a re fully cooked. About 10 minutes.
  7. Remove when done and keep warm until you are ready to serve.
  8. Serve with about a half cup of rice mixture in a large soup plate, and top with 1 chicken leg, 2 clams and 2 mussels and one shrimp.

Season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Anytime Chia Seed Fruit Pudding

Chia seeds are a tiny seed that is packed with powerful nutrition. Per 1 ounce they have 11 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, 18% Daily Recommended Calcium, and a whopping 4915 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids as well as 1620 mg of Omega-6 fatty acids!

This recipe works because Chia seeds absorb up to ten times their weight in liquid. Which is why they are a favorite snack for athletes as they keep you hydrated longer.  They also keep you feeling Fuller longer! Which is a wonderful side-effect of consuming these amazing little seeds.

Because of their ability to soak up so much liquid, soaking them can yield a consistency of pudding depending on the amount of liquid you use! And because it is a healthy choice it is an Anytime recipe. Have one of these for breakfast or as a healthy dessert.

To make your Anytime Chia Seed Fruit Pudding you will need:

  • 1/3 Cup Chia Seeds
  • 2 Cups Nut Milk of your choice
  • 4 Cups diced Fruit of your choice, or berries
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Fruit (such as currants, raisins, Goji berries, blueberries)
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract (or use the seeds of one Vanilla Bean Pod)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup shredded, unsweetened Coconut

Add the dried fruit and diced fruit to a mixing bowl. Toss with coconut. Divide into four serving dishes, or a casserole dish. Combine the nut milk, Chia seeds,  cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a pitcher or container, and pour over the servings of fruit.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to overnight.


Variations: Add the zest of a citrus fruit to the nut milk mixture and a little of the freshly squeezed juice to perk up this recipe. Swap out spices for a pumpkin pie spice mix for some of that Holiday cheer.

Wild Rice and Pecan Apple Stuffing

This stuffing is a breeze to make, and is fully of healthy fiber and anti-oxidants. Alternatively you can substitute walnuts and other grains like bulgar, and buckwheat for the wild rice.

You will need:

  • 1 cup water, or stock
  • 1/4 cup Wild Rice
  • 4 cups whole wheat bread, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion,chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 carrot peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable, or chicken stock (low sodium or homemade)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 1/2 fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons, fresh sage, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil and cook the wild rice in it. Spread the bread cubes on a cookie sheet and dry them in an oven at 250 degrees F for about 30 minutes, or the night before out in a large bowl.

2. Preheat your oven to 400°F In a large pot, or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, celery, and carrot over medium heat until all are tender. Add the apples, stock, pepper, herbs, and salt and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cooked wild rice. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the dry bread cubes.

3. Scrape the stuffing into a 2-quart casserole or baking dish and top with the chopped pecans, pressing the mixture down with the back of a spatula. You can cover and refrigerate the stuffing for up to 4 days at this point. Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Makes 6 cups, about 6 servings.

Simple Cranberry Smoothie

This is an easy, tart-sweet, way to add more cranberries to your day. Drink as a breakfast smoothie, or freeze for a simple dessert.

You could alternately use chilled brewed White Tea, or any tea of your liking for an afternoon pick me up.

  • 1 cup whole cranberries, frozen.
  • 1 cup Organic Apple Cider, or Cold tea of your liking. (I like to use White Tea or Green Tea)
  • 2 Tablespoons real Organic Maple Syrup, or Raw Honey

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until desired consistency.

You can also add a banana, or juice of your liking.


Fran Costigans Vegan Pecan Chocolate Cake

This comes from Fran Costigan’s “Vegan Chocolate” book. Here is her website.

This combines healthy dark chocolate, Pecans, and Cranberries with healthier ingredients which yields a decadent dessert for your Thanksgiving, or Hanukkah table that doesn’t cost your health much!


Chocolate Pecan Cranberry Coffee Cake by Fran Costigan, Courtesy of Running Press

Makes one 9-inch cake, 10-12 servings


1/2 cup dried cranberries

zest and juice of one medium organic orange

3/4 cup pecans, roasted, cooled, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup rolled oats, toasted

1/2 cup organic whole cane sugar (sucanat or rapadura) ground in a blender to a fine powder

2 tablespoons mild tasting xv olive oil

2 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips


1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup dutch process cocoa

1/3 cup organic granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon mild-tasting xv olive oil

3/4 cup Grade B maple syrup

3/4 cup non-dairy milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/8 teaspoon orange oil (optional)

1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips

GLAZE (optional)

1 1/3 cup organic confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons dutch-process cocoa

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons boiling water

1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Mix the cranberries and orange juice in a small bowl and let soak for 10 minutes.

2. Drain the cranberries, reserving 1 tablespoon of the juice. Return the cranberries to the bowl, add the pecans, oats, whole cane sugar, zest, and oil. If the crumb is dry, add reserved orange juice. Think damp sand. Stir the chips into the crumb and reserve while you make the cake.


1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Oil the sides and bottom of a 9-inch cake pan, and cut a parchment round to fit the bottom. Line the pan and don’t oil the paper.

2. Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the all-purpose flour, pastry flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt to the strainer and stir with the whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. If any bits stay in the strainer, add to the bowl, and whisk to aerate the mixture.

3. Whisk the oil, maple syrup, non-dairy milk, vanilla, vinegar and orange oil (if using) in a separate medium bowl until mixed, stir into the dry mix until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Pour about half the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle about half of the crumb over, going light on the center. Pour the remaining batter over the crumb, use a spatula to spread the batter evenly. Sprinkle the remaining crumb over, going light on the center.

5. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out dry or with a few moist crumbs.

6. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then cover with a plate and invert. Remove the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Invert the cake again onto the rack to cool completely. If you are glazing, wait til it’s completely cool, or if you want to warm the cake for serving, glaze after it’s warm.


Sift the sugar and cocoa into a small heat proof bowl. Add the boiling water and whisk until sugar is dissolved and glaze is smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk.